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Columbus firefighter honored for training

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Columbus Fire Department Capt. Andy Lay recently was honored with an aircraft rescue and firefighting award for training sessions he created for local firefighters.

Carlos Laverty, Columbus Municipal Airport assistant director, accepted the award on Lay’s behalf at the recent American Association of Airport Executives conference in Michigan, according to a fire department media release.

Airport Director Brian Payne nominated Lay for the award, which was bestowed by the Great Lakes Chapter of the association.

In his nomination letter, Payne touched on the achievements of Lay during his two years at Fire Station 2, located next to the airport.

“Capt. Lay is never satisfied with good enough. He has encouraged me to push for more advanced training opportunities for the ARFF staff and has gone above and beyond with the exceptional ARFF record keeping,” Payne wrote in the letter.

Lay played a key role in establishing a full-scale training prop with a derelict DC-3 airplane that is located on the airport property. Lay also led several training sessions with city and local volunteer departments. Topics of these sessions included nozzle turret training, proper procedures for approaching an aircraft and interior rescue of victims.

Airport rescue and firefighters receive structural fire and emergency medical training provided by the department but also must complete additional training to maintain compliance with the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency requires that each firefighter trains in 11 categories annually, and participate in a live burn exercise each year. Columbus firefighters attended a live burn exercise this year at Grissom Air Reserve Base.

The award recognizes candidates who have shown exceptional skills in the workplace by organizing or directing special projects, employing innovative ideas, proactively improving safety or public service. Also, the award was established to recognize fire rescue personnel within the chapter who have been nominated by their supervisors for meritorious and dedicated service within their section.

Acts of performance deserving recognition of this award don’t have to be in the heroic or life-saving category. Time- and cost-saving procedures, equipment modification and improved training methods also merit nomination for the award.

The training has been important because in recent weeks Columbus Municipal Airport has seen several large aircraft that are participating in Army North’s Vibrant Response training at Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville. These aircraft include C130s, 737s, C17s and a C-5, plus several military helicopters, the release stated.

Lay received a $100 check with the award. He donated the money to the Columbus Firemen’s Cheer Fund.

He became a city firefighter in 1997 and was promoted from lieutenant to captain in May.

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