Monday, October 10, 2011

Safety doesn't happen by accident

DFD training on the roof

I think the thing that struck me most while watching the Compartment Fire Behavior Training yesterday (see Fire control training) was the emphasis on safety.

DFD training uniformsWatching the men gear up for the live fire exercise, I was impressed first with their safety gear. From the multilayered jacket and pants to the head gear and oxygen supply, everything is built to protect the firefighters from serious burns or smoke inhalation.

All of the doors are clearly identified, inside and out, and can be easily broken through if necessary.

The firefighters on the roof had the responsibility to make sure that the fire didn't break through the ceiling into the attic, where it could travel into adjoining rooms or get out of control. In addition, they were there to vent the smoke from the room, as needed, and to provide another exit route in case anything got out of control.

DFD training backupsIn addition, another crew was present whose sole responsibility is the safety of those being trained. (The job of these firefighters sitting off to the side might look easy, but they were ready to jump into action at a moment's notice.)

Firefighter Villanueva explained to me that all of these safety precautions (and many many more that I can't remember) come from the National Fire Protection Association, an organization founded in 1896. The NFPA has created a constantly evolving set of standards for fire safety, which are reviewed and updated whenever an injury occurs or a safety issue is uncovered.
When a man becomes a fireman his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. What he does after that is all in the line of work.
~Edward F. Croker

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