Fire Rescue 2018 returns to Columbia after 32 years

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The statewide conference, South Carolina Fire Rescue 2018, is back in Columbia after 32 years.

Monday kicks off a week of training and events for the public to enjoy time with their first responders.

South Carolina Fire Rescue 2018 is put on by the South Carolina State Firefighters' Association and was moved to Columbia this year from Myrtle Beach. Officials from the South Carolina State Firefighters' Association say one of the reasons for the move was to make travel time easier on volunteers.

The bulk of the conference will include firefighter and first responder classes and training exercises that will put participants through unique situations. Those scenarios include hazmat, active shooter, flood boat rescue and more.

"We've gone from just fighting fires to emergency medical care, to now we're doing tactical emergency care where active shooter incidents. We're working hand in hand with our law enforcement agencies," executive director of the South Carolina State Firefighters' Association Kyle Minick said. "This week, we're actually doing a TECC program, tactical emergency care program, where firefighters are coming in and learning how to deal with a mass shooting, or an active shooter incident. Hazmat, truck company, flood boat, it's just a myriad of experiences that we've not had before."

This year, there are plenty of events for the public to attend. Those events include: a first responder hockey game, a barbecue taste test, a firefighter appreciation night and a stair climb of the BB&T Building in Columbia. There will also be exhibits in the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and Colonial Life Arena.

"When we talk about the public coming to see us on Thursday and Friday, we sold out all of our vendor space, so Colonial Life Arena is full. The convention center is full and the parking lot in between the two venues will have vendors and events as well. So, looking forward to having a lot of opportunity for the public to see things they may not have seen before," Minick said.

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