By Meg Olson
It was all hands on deck on January 3, when the local fire department used a donated house on Marine Drive for a morning of live-fire training before burning it completely down.
“Having the opportunity to train on actual structures is invaluable to our members,” said fire chief Christopher Carleton.
The fire district has used the structure since November for training in search and rescue, incident command and small live fires. The district’s goal is to get water on a fire within two minutes of arriving, Carleton said, which means firefighters need to be experienced in quickly evaluating a situation.
“This type of training helps our members hone their skills in these crucial areas of operations in order to become most effective in real life situations,” Carleton said.
As firefighter teams exited the building after evaluating and extinguishing fires set upstairs, Carleton asked them, “How was the heat?” This kind of training, he said, is the only way firefighters can be prepared for how it feels to be in a fire, and that preparation is crucial.
“The final burn that was conducted adds another tier to the experience, showing how quickly a structure can be overcome, and allows true fire dynamics to be seen,” Carleton said.
Instead of demolishing the old home before building anew, the property owners offered it to the fire district. Carleton said such offers create a valuable opportunity for the fire district.