PITTSBURG, Kan. — Some local Kansas fire departments partner together in hopes of sharpening their skills while building team chemistry.

“If you don’t use it, it is one of those things where you do lose it,” said Chief Taylor Cerne, Pittsburg Fire Department.

That’s what firefighters in Pittsburg learned on Monday morning, while taking part in their monthly series of fire training events.

This month’s focus? Confined space training – with departments from all across Southeast Kansas, including Chanute, Parsons, Iola, and Frontenac.

“We’ve got the concrete tower, that we do fire operations in, we have a burn building, that’s recently been built and we will be doing live fire training later on, this is just kind of where we like to come and play for lack of a better word, the guys come and have fun,” said Chief Cerne.

Activities included repelling up and down walls, as well as monitoring oxygen levels, in a simulated rescue experience.

Despite all of the important skills the firefighters are working on, Pittsburg Fire Chief Taylor Cerne believes that working with other local departments is the key to the whole operation.

“A big thing we get out of this is working with the other departments. It’s really easy to get into your own clique and only work with the four or five guys you are with all of the time, but when you start introducing other departments it can add some confusion. We do enough training (together) that we are almost like we are one big department working together, that’s the relationships our guys have built with the other ones,” said Chief Cerne.

“The great thing about this is that it brings all of the departments together, plus little departments like Frontenac and everybody else that doesn’t get to train with us, we all come together and learn how to speak to each other, the equipment that we use, and it also brings us together for the brotherhood,” said Korey Lucian, Pittsburg firefighter/paramedic.

Chief Cerne says, as local departments wrap up this month’s training series, they start to prepare for what’s next–trench rescue and safety.