SISTERS, OR -- Five local firefighters are wrapping up a two-week cultural exchange in the U.K. Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Chief Roger Johnson says the time in Hampshire County provides unique opportunities for his crew. "They’ve been doing a lot of structural fire training. Hampshire Fire and Rescue serves a community of about a million and a half people, so they have some really advanced training opportunities, simulators, and also some of their community risk reduction programs. This agency is very progressive in how they prevent injury and in some of their community service programs, which is of interest to us."
Chief Johnson tells KBND News says the exchange has been in the planning stage for a while. "The groundwork started about 2-3 years ago when we were talking with some of the members of Hampshire at a joint conference. They had a real interest in learning about wildland fire protection and how their agency could learn from how the United States fights wildland fires." So, "They sent five of their members to the US and stayed with us in Sisters for two weeks, last year. They were able to deploy to the John Day Fire; they just had an incredible experience. And, this was sort of the reciprocal exchange."
Three firefighters from Sisters, and two from Redmond Fire and Rescue, are expected to return home this weekend. Chief Johnson says they’ll then evaluate what was learned and decide whether more will make the trip in the future. Another British crew is scheduled to train in Sisters, this summer.