The Edwards Fire Department gathered for live fire training Oct. 18 with the help of North Tree Fire International, who provided the firefighters with a mobile live fire trainer.
The department is required to perform the structural fire training once every six months.
The tractor trailer, which burns propane, gave firefighters an opportunity to experience temperatures in excess of 700 degrees Fahrenheit and practice on a variety of scenarios including kitchen fires, second story bedroom fires and ceiling roll-over fires.
“Every six months they come out because we are required bi-annually to stay proficient. It takes the place of an actual structural fire. We get to practice continuity of the crew, advancing the hand line, navigating up and down stairs, climbing a ladder – these are things that we have to be proficient in,” said Glenn Savell, Edwards Fire Department Station 5 division chief.
“This kind of training is critical. There are people on this base and they are counting on help coming and not just any help. They want the best coming. So that’s what we did with the live fire training – we’re in the fire, experiencing high temperatures and actually fighting real fire. You need that.”
Inside the trailer is a small control room where North Tree personnel monitor the training session and manipulate the fire scenarios through a computer program. The unique configuration adds an important dimension of realism to the training.
“The trainer allows us every six months to experience temperatures that we would during a normal structure fire. This training is important to keep us proficient. We want to be the best that we can be because there are a lot of people counting on us,” said Savell.
Due to regulations with the Environmental Protection Agency, the mobile live fire trainer provides the Edwards Fire Department with a realistic alternative to an actual structural fire, yet is in full compliance with agency regulations.
“Having North Tree come out here is a real blessing. I’m pleased with how the training went, everyone did real well. Not only were we successful, but it was great for camaraderie. We were out there doing what we love to do,” said Savell.
In order for the department to maintain their high level of competency, the department trains in a variety of functional areas in addition to structure fires which include aircraft rescue, hazardous materials, confined spaces, high angle rope rescue, traditional rescue and medical.