Southbound lanes of I-65 shut down in Morgan County because of damaged bridge

North Alabama firefighters receive extra training at Lake Guntersville State Park

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. - It's important for local responders to be well equipped with the latest equipment at all times. Firefighters from all over north Alabama gathered at Guntersville State Park to receive training on new GPS systems that will work in the most rural areas.

Five different fire agencies from five different counties paired up for extensive training provided by state and federal funding. "It gives us equipment and resources and training that we need to come together in case of a disaster, to deploy to any area we need to and take care of whatever problem we need to take care of," says Lt. Stacy Rose of the Decatur Fire Department.

This year's topic was all about navigation. The firefighters were given a task and had to use the new knowledge and equipment to fulfill a mock task. "We're all doing GPS location training, learning how to use GPS units to find waypoints, mark waypoints and go and find someone," says Lt. Rose.

Learning different tactics along with new equipment is vitally important to rural areas that can lack quality cell service. "If there's an issue where cell phone towers have been knocked out, using the GPS units which work off satellite make it still easily able to navigate."

Lt. Rose says these opportunities wouldn't be available without a little help. "A lot of time this kind of equipment and training is out of reach for a lot of local departments. With the help of state and federal funding, it allows us to get some equipment and training we might not otherwise be able to get."

The goal is for your local firefighters to be more efficient and provide a better service to those they protect.