Firefighters find use in soon-to-be demolished building


Mason City firefighters find use in soon-to-be demolished building

Mason City Fire Marshal Jamey Medlin, right, reviews the sprinkler system with firefighter Tim Cahalan, center, and EMT Hunter Schmidt during training at the Mason City Country Club on Tuesday.

Chris Zoeller, Globe Gazette

Mason City Fire Emergency Medical Technician Hunter Schmidt installs a new sprinkler head in a shower at the Mason City Country Club as he and other fire fighters train at the facility on Tuesday. The country club gave permission to the fire and police departments to use for training as the building is set to be demolished by the end of the year.

Even though the Mason City Country Club is slated for demolition, that doesn’t mean the 104-year-old structure can’t still be useful. 

With permission from the Mason City Country Club Board of Directors, Mason City police and fire departments were able to use the nearly empty facility as a makeshift training site this week.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mason City Fire Marshal Jamey Medlin led firefighters and EMT staff on a tour of the building’s alarm and sprinkler systems and, more specifically, on how to repair and reset those systems when responding to calls. 

While the department trains daily on tactics and procedures, the ability to train hands on is very important, says Medlin.

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“It is awesome to have access to these buildings,” he said. “It gives us the ability to do the hands on, like this one that the country club let us use, to do our training, then we can actually flow a water sprinkler system, where in a building that’s under current use, we can’t do that.”

“The hands on is where the guys and gals of the fire department learn how to do the operations.”

Mason City Fire Marshal Jamey Medlin, left, reviews how to replace sprinkler system heads with fire fighters and EMT during training at the Mason City Country Club on Tuesday.

Medlin said the department tries to use on-site training as often as they can. Just last month, they used a building owned by Hawkeye Auto Body to practice search and rescue.

“We’re always trying to refresh the minds of the firefighters,” said Medlin “It’s one of those things — we can talk about it a lot, but until you do the hands on is when you really learn how to do it. And that is beneficial in the time that we can actually correct the problem when we’re out in the field.”

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I think it’s been a tough decision but it’s the right one because there is no sense in saving an old building that needs a lot of work.”