When firefighters enter a burning building, they wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to shield them from heat and to ensure that they don’t breathe smoke.
For each firefighter, PPE includes a mask and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). It’s crucial that the mask fit properly and seal tightly. To ensure that it does, every firefighter must pass a “face fit” test every year. This is a requirement of WorkSafe BC — and a requirement that is just fine with us!
Here you see firefighter Walter Berry wearing his mask while hooked up to the testing apparatus.
From time to time people ask us what we use our old fire hall for, so we thought we’d show you one of the things we do there. (Click photo to see a larger version of it.)
This is a photo we took last fall during auto-extrication training – that is, training to get victims out of automobiles after crashes.
The red vehicle has been imobilized by a thing called the telecrib: that is the red and blue metal support you see in the corner of the vehicle.
Firefighters on the ground are playing the role of first responders, who tend to the medical needs of the patients. (The patient in this case is a mannequin.)
The firefighters wearing red helmets are our training officers, Will Sprogis and Jethro Baker.
In the rear of the vehicle, a firefighter is about to cut through the vehicle using hydraulic cutters (jaws of life).
Our training session this week involved rappelling down a cliff and climbing back up again – necessary skills for Gabriola firefighters, as we are called when people get injured on slopes.
In these two photos you see firefighter Peter Wishinski. In the first shot he’s at the top of the cliff, getting ready. In the second photo, you see Peter beginning his descent.
Leaning back and starting to descend.
We’re always concerned about the risk of wildfire on Gabriola, so we practice wildland firefighting skills regularly. Here are some photos from Tuesday night’s practice, which was up in the Legends area at the end of Seymour Road.
We began by driving our wildland truck into the forest, setting up a portatank (not shown here, but explained in another post) and carrying hose into the scene. Once we had water flowing some firefighters manned the hoses, spraying class A fire foam into the trees. This foam is used both to extinguish fires, and to coat nearby trees or houses in order to protect them from fire.
Other firefighters used water backpacks, which are perfect for extinguishing small fires in grass or brush.
Gabriola firefighters preparing to carry hose into scenario location. Shown here: Syreeta Caron, Zoe Lenko, Kyle Clifford, Felix Amuir.
Spraying class A fire foam onto grass and trees.
Firefighter Syreeta Caron. Sitting on the fire hose is a great way to conserve energy!
Firefighters Zoe Lenko and Felix Amuir are wearing water backbacks.
Click on any of the images here if you’d like to see a larger version.
Last night our firefighting practice was at Degnen Bay. This overview shot was taken from the end of Maple Lane, where there’s a public access trail down the hill to Degnen dock.
The immense spray of water you see in this photo is coming from our hose line, and is directed out towards an imaginary boat fire.
Here are two more photos of this practice session:
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Last night’s training session involved rescuing our manequin from a confined space. We used a large tank as the confined space, and had it filled with artificial smoke. These two photos give you an idea of what’s involved in the rescue.
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Ever wonder what we use our old fire hall for? It’s become a very useful training building for us!
In this training simulation, firefighters are entering with a charged hoseline to search for, and extinguish, the fire.
(There isn’t a real fire in the building, by the way. We use a smoke machine for training purposes. Training with real fires in buildings is done off-island at special facilities.)