Summer Fire School heats up mid-Missouri

More than 550 firefighters from across the country are in Jefferson City for the 82nd Annual Summer Fire School.

More than 550 firefighters from across the country...California, to New Jersey and up to Alaska are in Jefferson City this week.

They're in town for the 82nd Annual Summer Fire School.

Firefighters took to the Missouri River and practiced swift water riverboat training during their boat rescue training course.

Greg Heckemeyer, with the Jefferson City Fire Department is one of the firefighters learning the new techniques.

"A lot of the waterways we have around here, we have several victims several times a year that we need to actually go into the water and retrieve so we are out here practicing, making sure we get well trained on how to safely get them out of the water without getting anyone hurt," Heckemeyer said.

After a day of lecture, the students hit the water for some hands-on experience.

The firefighters practiced their rescue skills, high speed turns and picking up victims.

Before his classes begin, Tracy Henry, from the Waynesville Rural Fire Protection District, watched and supported two of his own firefighters from the shore.

"The fire service is changing day by day, everything is getting more and more difficult and if you dont keep up with the ever changing demand for what you are doing, it's hard to keep up with the service in general," Henry said.

Henry said the course is something he hopes the fire school will offer again next year.

"It looks really interesting, it looks like something I'd like to get in and maybe take a chance at," Henry said.

"Most of the time when a rescue operation happens it's not in the most ideal conditions so we train to do stuff in the night, day, whenever," Heckemeyer said.

To ensure these first responders are ready for any type of situation, on friday they will be even more challenged as they practice their skills in the water at night.

Fire School first began in Columbia in 1933 as the "Summer Fire College".

This year, there are 36 courses offered.

The training will continue through Sunday.