A Guinness World Record was set Saturday as firefighters from across Oklahoma participated in an Atoka parade, preparing for the largest training event of rural firefighters held in Oklahoma.
The events were hosted by Oklahoma State University Fire Service Training, recognized as a national leader in standards and procedures for firefighting.
Firefighters, representing stations throughout the state, broke the world record for longest fire truck parade by showcasing 220 trucks and over 280 total emergency responder vehicles in the parade. The previous record of 159 trucks was set by Switzerland.
“Seeing fire trucks lined up for three and a half miles made all the hard work worth the effort,” said Donnie Allen, Atoka Fire Chief. “The streets of Atoka were full of supporters, and when truck 160 (the one that broke the record) crossed the end of the parade line the roar was equal to that of the winning touchdown at a Super Bowl.”
The parade kicked off the two-day training for Oklahoma rural firefighters
“With over 500 volunteer firefighters attending, this was our largest ever regional training event coordinated in Oklahoma,” said Bob Allen, FST Rural Program Coordinator.
Allen said this training was offered at no cost due to additional funding for rural volunteer firefighters appropriations made by Oklahoma legislators.
“This regional school offered training in most all firefighting areas focusing on Wildland Firefighting and Managing Wildland Fires,” said Allen. “Oklahoma is still in one of the worst drought conditions that has led to a record number of wild fires.”
Other areas of focus during this training included Leadership, Vehicle Firefighting, Hazardous Materials, Emergency Medical Training, Mutual Aid, Flammable Liquid Firefighting, Tornado Response, Rescue Training, and Structural Firefighting Procedures.
As an outreach unit of Oklahoma State University, FST creates and delivers elite training, continued education and professional certifications to emergency responders in Oklahoma.
FST relies heavily on legislative support to continue training and outreach in Oklahoma. In 2011, over 2,383 training and certification events were provide by FST, with 30,649 employed and volunteer emergency responders receiving training.
“We are very proud of what we do,” said David Thompson, Associate Dean of Outreach for the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology for OSU. “The efforts made through this department potentially affect every citizen in Oklahoma.”