Cherokee County Fire
& Emergency Services

Six Cherokee County Firefighters Recognized for Completing Training Courses

March 28, 2018

Six Cherokee County firefighters were recognized yesterday and today at Fire Headquarters for their completion of the Georgia Smoke Diver and the Georgia Flames courses that were recently held.

Cherokee County Fire Chief, Tim Prather, presented the firefighters with a “Letter of Commendation” for completing the courses. Matthew Bagley, Christian Kutas, and Matthew Hudson were recognized at Cherokee County Fire Headquarters yesterday. Bagley and Hudson were recognized for completing the Flames course and Kutas was recognized for being a new Smoke Diver. Today, Chief Prather recognized Eddie Barajas for completing the Smoke Diver course and David Jones for being the latest Flame and Geordan Ganka was congratulated for attending and completing both courses.

Counting the firefighters who were recognized this week, Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services now has 42 firefighters who have completed the Smoke Divers course and 23 who have completed the Flames training. “We have certain qualifications that our firefighters have to meet in order for them to go through these courses,” said Chief Prather.  “Once they have met the requirements, we assign them a mentor to help prepare them for the course.  Because of this, we have seen this to be a plus in helping our firefighters complete Smoke Divers and Flames and we have heard that other fire departments are looking into our program because of our success rate,” he added.

The Georgia Smoke Diver course is a six-day, 60 hour program designed for the experienced firefighter who desires realistic training in self-survival, firefighter rescue, advanced search & rescue, thermal imaging, emergency procedures, teamwork, discipline, team leadership, situational awareness and decision making as well as how to function within the elements of the Incident Command System.

The program condenses and replicates the extreme demands that may be placed on firefighters at any incident. Emphasis is placed on the day-to-day challenges firefighters face at structure fires, multiple-alarm fires and multiple fires within a single shift. These same principles can be applied to the performance of duties at natural disasters, catastrophic events and acts of terrorism. The course is a physically demanding and mentally challenging program. Its design allows each candidate to understand and manage their physical and mental limitations under safe but stressful realistic conditions. Coupled with constant situational awareness drills and forced decision making, the candidate gains condensed experience and therefore is able to operate more efficiently and safely at incidents. The program has a long history of improving the lives and careers of Georgia firefighters, as well as firefighters throughout the nation, through the emersion of servant leadership principles. The course is continually updated to stay on the leading edge of firefighting technology and firefighter safety while the core mission remains the same as developed in 1978.

The Flames course is three days of training that will test an individual firefighter's personal limitations when working in high stress situations with limited recuperation periods. It is also designed to test the individuals’ ability to function as part of a team. Teambuilding is a focal point of the course. The successful fire company must function as a team.

Chief Prather congratulated all the firefighters for a job “well done.”

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Matthew Bagley, Christian Kutas, and Matthew Hudson were recognized at Cherokee County Fire Headquarters yesterday
Matthew Bagley, Christian Kutas, and Matthew Hudson were recognized at Cherokee County Fire Headquarters yesterday (click image for slideshow)
Geordan Ganka, Eddie Barajas and David Jones were recognized today by Cherokee County Fire Chief, Tim Prather.
Geordan Ganka, Eddie Barajas and David Jones were recognized today by Cherokee County Fire Chief, Tim Prather.