House Fire Provides Essential Training

By: Autria Godfrey
By: Autria Godfrey

September 30, 2006

Trial by fire, literally the theme in Crozet Saturday as firefighters from Albemarle, Charlottesville and Crozet fire departments staged a house fire to work on various training techniques.

One new method: forced ventilation.

"It keeps your firefighters safer, sends them in with fresh air versus sending them into a dense smoke, they're able to see better see their way into the structure versus having to feel their way through the smoke," Crozet Fire Battalion Chief Michael Walton explained.

Crews also set up a mock kitchen fire set off by unattended cooking oil. In just a matter of minutes, a small stove-top fire engulfed the entire room, a call firefighters frequently respond to.

"They put something on the stove to heat it and then they leave it they walk away from it and they forget about it, or they lose track of time, it becomes too hot and it can actually ignite and then they have a kitchen fire," Joshua Davis, Charlottesville Fire Department Captain said.

Rookie firefighters also performed drills in more tightly confined rooms to tackle a common, but serious problem for rescue workers, claustrophobia.

"Firefighters will experience a level of claustrophobia in a building and they have to recognize that when they have that fear, that anxiety come on them. And it's different for everybody, everybody has different times and different levels that they get it," Davis continued.

These controlled environments are crucial when it comes to recognizing those levels and potential problems and preparing for the real life or death situations.

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