2010-06-25

A Day at the Fire Academy

My son, Christopher, is in the local chapter of Fire Explorers.  He's also a licensed EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and is a certified ambulance driver.  He's pursuing a career in fire fighting.  

The Fire Explorers is an organization run by the Fire Department to allow kids and young adults to learn fire fighting and to see if this could be a career path they are interested in pursuing.  The Fire Explorer program also builds awareness (and appreciation) of the fire fighters.  Christopher is attending a Fire Explorer Fire Academy this week.  The aim of the Academy is to accredit the attendees in various fire fighting procedures.  He invited us to attend a "Free Burn" yesterday.  We had no idea what to expect.  

It turns out there is a "car" - actually a steel structure in the basic shape of a car designed to be set on fire for training purposes.  It is configured to allow fires to be lit in various parts of the car so the trainees can gain experience with different types of car fires.  The tubes you see entering the left rear of the car in the picture below are actually the propane (or whatever flammable gas is used) and ignition lines that go to various parts of the car.  The gas (and ignition) is controlled with a remote control (similar to your TV remote).  A fire can be started in different parts of the car - under the hood, front or rear passenger area, and trunk. The picture below shows an engine fire.

Here's group of academy attendees getting instructions before putting out the car fire.  This is the 3-man group my son was in for this activity.  He's the handsome one facing the camera in the black helmet and the SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus).  I feel like I'm learning a new language with all the things he talks about associated with fire fighting.

The next picture is the same as the one above, but showing a zoomed-out view.  I would estimate there were approximately 80 attendees of the Fire Academy and this shot just shows the ones participating in the car fire instruction and free burn.

I thought the next picture was interesting.  The time of day was late afternoon and it's within a few seconds of the previous picture, but I turned on the camera flash.  There are reflective strips on the fire fighter "turn-outs" (that's what they call the protective outfit they're wearing) to enable the fire fighters to be located in complete darkness - this is how my camera interpreted the light situation because of the extreme reflective nature of the strips.

The next picture shows the group that was getting instructions above putting out the engine fire.  My son is handling the nozzle.  Isn't he doing a great job?  You can get a sense of the power that the water produces coming out of the nozzle by the way he's leaning into it.  Each situation is done by the group 3 times to allow all 3 members of the group to experience each position: Nozzle-guy, Backup-guy, and Hose-guy.  There's probably a proper name associated with each position, so forgive me if I got that wrong.  The Hose-guy position is not visible in this picture - the third person here is the guy in the red helmet who is one of the instructors.  The Nozzle-guy aims the nozzle, the Backup-guy assists the Nozzle-guy by helping to position the hose, the Hose-guy helps pull the hose into and out of the fire fighting position so the other two guys can handle the nozzle.  The fire fighters go into the fire walking forward as you see below, and when they leave, they're in the same position and back out.  The Hose-guy's job on the way out is to keep the hose out of the way of the other two so they don't trip on the hose as they back out.  My son did the best at that position, too, by the way.  I really mean it, even though he's my handsome son doesn't mean he can't be the best at whatever I say he's best at.

Here's a shot later that evening with a fire in a different part of the car.  It's kind of hard to see detail in this picture - I didn't want to use the flash, since you saw what happened earlier when I did that...

Tomorrow (Saturday) is graduation day.  We'll be going back for that, of course.

4 comments:

'THAT CROCHET GUY!!' said...

That sounds great!

I hope he does well in that career.

Ken

Ciera Thomas said...

That water pressure DOES seem really strong!! I'm so proud of Christopher!

Sylvester said...

I think it's obvious that Christopher has found his calling. I'm not surprised that he is already great at many of the basic firefighting skills. My very best wishes for a long, satisfiying and fulfilling career.

Sylvester

Libby said...

I bet you tell some really great stories. I loved reading the post and hearing about your handsome son that's obviously good at whatever you say he's good at! LOL I wish him all the best. :-)