WASHINGTON CITY – A small team of firefighters had five minutes to force their way into a trailer and put out a fire inside Saturday, while also remembering multiple steps and factors involved in safely and effectively combating a live blaze inside a structure. Once the blaze was out, the firefighters filed out of the trailer for their evaluation during the training exercise.
“This crew did it in two minutes, 57 seconds,” said Ken Guard, who acted as the lead instructor for the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy training held at the Washington City Fire station on Buena Vista Boulevard Saturday.
Approximately a dozen firefighters from the Washington City, Santa Clara and Parowan fire departments, plus their instructors, were gathered at the Washington City Fire station as a part of state-required training needed for their Firefighter I and Firefighter II certifications. The certifications are done through the Fire and Rescue Academy, which is attached to Utah Valley University in Orem.
Guard, who is also a battalion chief with the St. George Fire Department, said it can take the firefighters three-to-four months to get their certifications. This is done through passing a series of hands-on exercises and written tests.
Part of the training involves dealing with a live fire inside of a simulated structure – in this case a specially-designed trailer on loan from the Fire and Rescue Academy. During one of Saturday’s exercises, the firefighters had to show instructors they could successful employ at least 15 specific skills related to dealing with the initial stages of a structure fire.
“Instructors monitor the fire and the students and make sure they get all 15 skills,” Guard said. “(Students) work as a team, they go and extinguish the fire safely and they do it in under five minutes, which is the state requirement.”
Overall, Guard said, the firefighters have at least 90 skills they learn in order to became certified through the Fire and Rescue Academy. In addition to the hands-on training, students will also be taking two written exams with 300 questions between them.
The training trailer on loan from the academy is specifically designed to enable firefighter-students to learn a plethora of skills related to their work which included more than just putting out fires.
Students get to learn about properly ventilating a fire, cutting through roofs, search and rescue operations, correct methods of force of entry, getting people and themselves out of fires, and many other hands-on aspects of the job. For live fire training, piles of hay contained within the trailer are ignited and left for students to extinguish.
Last week, Guard said, the students learned about fire behavior through the use of another training trailer from the academy that simulates flash-fire conditions.
The training trailers can run up to $125,000, Guard said, adding that they are a “tremendous resource” that has aided in training hundreds of firefighters across the state. Utah Fire and Rescue Academy has four such trailers that are used across the state and greatly benefit fire departments that may not otherwise have those kind of training resources available.
“UFRA has been so generous to let us borrow their fire training trailer,” Washington City Firefighter Luke Lea said.
Lea, who was participating in the exercises as a student, also said the training has been exciting and a lot of fun.
“It really opens your eyes to the science behind fires,” he said. “it’s very interesting stuff.”
- In the heat of the moment at winter fire school; STGnews Videocast, Photo Gallery
- Burn the house down; Parowan Fire Department’s dual-purpose exercise; STGnews Videocast and Photo Gallery
- No fire, just Santa Clara Fire Department training for ‘flash fires’
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