Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fire control training

DFD trainers

Last Tuesday, Joan blogged about a fire department training exercise taking place at the old Gallatin Medical Center facility. (See Men at work.) They were still there this weekend, so I stopped by for more pictures and more details.

DFD training smoke
Letting some of the smoke escape
during the live fire portion of the training.
The training covers fire behavior inside a building, and teaches firefighters to recognize fire behavior indicators so that they can predict fire development. There are classroom lectures followed by time spent observing a live fire.

After they complete the training, the firefighters are certified in Compartment Fire Behavior Training. (There are different levels, and I have no idea which level they are working on here.) In addition, firefighter Pete Browne (nearly hidden in the above picture) will be certified as a Compartment Fire Behavior Training Instructor.

DFD training cleanupDFD training exitingFirefighters Villanueva and Seely chatted with me about the live fire training. The firefighters enter a room where a fire is set. From floor level, where there is less smoke, they observe the behavior of the fire. When they exit the room after the exercise is complete, they remain at floor level until they're out the door (left). After all the live fire training is done, they do a final inspection of the rooms (right).
Interesting facts I learned:
  • The firefighters' protective clothing isn't all that thick. What protects the firefighters from the heat is the air buffer created by the clothing's bulkiness. The area where they are most likely to feel the heat is on the shoulders, where the weight of the jacket eliminates the air buffer.
  • If the firefighters simply sprayed the fire down with water, the resulting steam, which would settle down to the floor, would kill anyone still in the building. So sometimes the goal is simply to let the fire burn (under control) until the firefighters can ensure that everyone is out of the building.
More tomorrow...

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