September 23, 2010

Firemen Receive ‘Trial by Smoke’ at Rescue Training

You’ve heard the saying trial by fire, but the Scotland County Fire Department recently received some training via trial by smoke.

The volunteer firemen gathered for training September 15th, fortunate to have the use of a live building, donated for use that evening. With the use of an artificial smoke machine, the firemen received hands-on training, literally.

Firemen divided into two- and three-man teams to perform searches of the smoke-filled home. The practice allowed the volunteers additional training on the use of air packs, as all firemen were in complete gear for the run through. The rescue crews worked on their hands and knees, sweeping the floors of the smoke-filled rooms in search of any occupants, simulating the situation at a fire scene when visibility is often times at or near zero.

Volunteer firemen from the Scotland County Fire Department practice ventilation tactics during special training held in Memphis last week.

Training officer Randy Trueblood led the “old-school” training, working to prepare firemen for possible rescue scenarios.

He noted that the fire department maintains two thermal imager devices, that give firemen the ability to see through smoke, but this training further prepares firemen to do whatever is necessary to possibly save a life.

Extrication of victims was also practiced, as the search crews were able to locate “a body” and work to safely escape the scene to get the patient to treatment.

The smoke machine allowed the firemen to practice ventilation tactics, putting to use the new ventilation fan, using it to remove smoke from the home. The machinery is also used to help remove dangerous gases and reduce heat.

The training session lasted approximately three hours.

The department will soon be upgrading its air pack systems, as five new carbon-weave air bottles have been ordered. The bottles, which cost approximately $700 each, were funded by the city and rural fire funds, as well as the firemen’s fund and the county emergency management funds.

Trueblood indicated the new bottles dramatically reduce the weight of an air pack, allowing rescue workers much more flexibility entering and exiting buildings in search of victims and for fire-fighting purposes.

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