On Saturday, all the fire departments in Ellis County came together and performed their annual mutual aid training. Third-three firefighters from the Ellis County, Victoria, Ellis and Hays Fire Departments attended the training. This training brings all fire departments together while working in a training environment to test skills, operational plans, and equipment.

This year’s drill was conducted southwest of Hays. The exercise included a property owner burning down an abandoned structure while fire departments were on the scene. The fire departments protected multiple buildings, or “exposures,” surrounding the fire building from receiving any damage.

Firefighters tested their skills with city structural fire engines to start a draft. This includes setting up 3,500-gallon drop-tanks next to the fire trucks, filling the tanks from the water tenders, and having the fire trucks suck water out of the tanks to fight the fire. This was tested and timed for reference as there are no fire hydrants outside city limits. Water was also shuttled on-scene from a local farm pond to refill the drop-tanks.

This larger training event is conducted once a year and this year it was the Ellis County Fire Department’s year to plan and host the event. Next year, the Victoria Fire Department will host the training event. Although this larger mutual aid training happens only once a year, there are multiple other events where local fire departments train together on other items.