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Firefighters hone skills, knowledge with training

24 Oct 2013 | Lance Cpl. Paul S. Martinez

Firefighters with the Morongo Valley Fire Department and two units from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection conducted a fire-control exercise aboard the Combat Center Oct. 22.

The training accommodated a collaboration between the firefighting agencies and Chief Sam Moore , training chief, Combat Center Fire Department, being unique due to its mix of both new and seasoned firefighters.

“We were approached by the Morongo Valley Fire Department,” said Dave Morgan, primary instructor, CalFire San Bernardino Unit. “Due to their small size, they don’t have instructors to put on this training so they reached out and asked CalFire units for help. I was able to get firefighters from Riverside to conduct this training.”

The firefighters received several classes on conditions and occurrences during a fire, and proceeded to the Fire Department Training Area to execute three major components that consisted of fire behavior, fire attack, and ventilation.

“This kind of fire control class allows the (firefighters) to enter a fire environment and practice nozzle techniques and read smoke conditions,” Morgan said. “When they get to the field, they’ll be more aware of what’s going on and be able to identify signs and trigger points of actual fires.”

The first training tool was the fire-behavior prop. Students entered a metal structure and watched as a controlled fire was ignited. The aim was to recognize the expansion of fire, remain calm and practice breathing techniques.

“After lighting the fire, we explained the phases of fire from the beginning phase through its growth, until it is fully developed and going to the infamous flash-over phase, which is quick ignition of directly exposed, combustible material in an enclosed area,” said Scott Lewis, primary instructor, CalFire Riverside. “The students were able to recognize it and see it in real-life.”

Firefighters moved on to the fire-attack station, a similar set-up with the purpose of actively engaging a fire. Firefighters practiced how to apply water through a standard nozzle.

“Here, (firefighters) were learning how to use the nozzle properly,” Lewis said. “It gives them a sense of nozzle control and how to be diligent with the water without causing additional damage.”

The final exercise, called the ventilation station, focused on the importance of sawing holes on the roofs of structures when possible. Firefighters utilized a chainsaw to practice their sawing skills.

“We utilize this one to get them comfortable and used to working with a chainsaw,” Lewis said. “We do a technique called rowing the rafter, cutting in a straight, rectangular motion but avoiding the support frame, only cutting the roof. We cut holes to help release smoke and high gases from inside. It helps increase the survivability of victims in there and gives the firefighters better conditions when they go in.”

According to Morgan, modern chemicals and structures often result in fires burning stronger and hotter, prompting firefighters to adapt to the heightened danger. This training session contributed to hands-on preparation for when crisis strikes.

“Training effectively will keep our firefighters safe and capable,” Lewis said. “We want to do things like this so we can fight the way we train.” irefighters with the Morongo Valley Fire Department and two units from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection conducted a fire-control exercise aboard the Combat Center Oct. 22.

The training accommodated a collaboration between the firefighting agencies and Chief Sam Moore , training chief, Combat Center Fire Department, being unique due to its mix of both new and seasoned firefighters.

“We were approached by the Morongo Valley Fire Department,” said Dave Morgan, primary instructor, CalFire San Bernardino Unit. “Due to their small size, they don’t have instructors to put on this training so they reached out and asked CalFire units for help. I was able to get firefighters from Riverside to conduct this training.”

The firefighters received several classes on conditions and occurrences during a fire, and proceeded to the Fire Department Training Area to execute three major components that consisted of fire behavior, fire attack, and ventilation.

“This kind of fire control class allows the (firefighters) to enter a fire environment and practice nozzle techniques and read smoke conditions,” Morgan said. “When they get to the field, they’ll be more aware of what’s going on and be able to identify signs and trigger points of actual fires.”

The first training tool was the fire-behavior prop. Students entered a metal structure and watched as a controlled fire was ignited. The aim was to recognize the expansion of fire, remain calm and practice breathing techniques.

“After lighting the fire, we explained the phases of fire from the beginning phase through its growth, until it is fully developed and going to the infamous flash-over phase, which is quick ignition of directly exposed, combustible material in an enclosed area,” said Scott Lewis, primary instructor, CalFire Riverside. “The students were able to recognize it and see it in real-life.”

Firefighters moved on to the fire-attack station, a similar set-up with the purpose of actively engaging a fire. Firefighters practiced how to apply water through a standard nozzle.

“Here, (firefighters) were learning how to use the nozzle properly,” Lewis said. “It gives them a sense of nozzle control and how to be diligent with the water without causing additional damage.”

The final exercise, called the ventilation station, focused on the importance of sawing holes on the roofs of structures when possible. Firefighters utilized a chainsaw to practice their sawing skills.

“We utilize this one to get them comfortable and used to working with a chainsaw,” Lewis said. “We do a technique called rowing the rafter, cutting in a straight, rectangular motion but avoiding the support frame, only cutting the roof. We cut holes to help release smoke and high gases from inside. It helps increase the survivability of victims in there and gives the firefighters better conditions when they go in.”

According to Morgan, modern chemicals and structures often result in fires burning stronger and hotter, prompting firefighters to adapt to the heightened danger. This training session contributed to hands-on preparation for when crisis strikes.

“Training effectively will keep our firefighters safe and capable,” Lewis said. “We want to do things like this so we can fight the way we train.”


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