Day two of FDIC’s H.O.T. evolutions exemplified the scope of the Conference’s resources, not only through the various training session locations, but through the comments of participants. Again and again, students told me how impressed they were by the resources from which FDIC is able to draw, whether it be the number of school buses secured, or the seemingly endless buildings to use for various evolutions.
First came a return to the Conference’s Clearstream location where day two of truck company ops evolutions were taking place. Driving up, the six or seven school buses that students began to work on the day before were on their sides, and in many cases, in pieces. But at another end of the complex, there were six or seven more buses ready to be cut apart by enthusiastic firefighters armed with sawzalls and hydraulic tools.
The main purpose, though, of the return trip was to observe the collapse class. Firefighters participating in this evolution were able to get to work today, performing searches through the collapsed structure after meticulously shoring their means of egress. Already the scope of FDIC’s resources becomes apparent as electric circular saws and hammers are heard cutting and pounding nails into the copious supply of wood. And just across from the collapse rescue evolution are the six or seven more school buses, students hovered around exploring extrication techniques.
The confined space rescue evolution was the next stop. Crawling under blocks of concrete weighing thousands of pounds with rebar and wire protruding every which way and through thick gauge steel tubing, rescuers practiced various facets of confined space rescue, while another team rescued a victim from a rail car.
Onto the live burn-where a single family dwelling was used to practice interior firefighting techniques. More than just practicing interior attack techniques, students on the outside looking in got a chance to watch how fire behaves; how the changing smoke indicates the various stages of fire. Six different crews were able to enter the dwelling to put out a fire in one of several rooms while another crew stood by as an R.I.T. team, and truck companies performed interior and exterior tasks. Twice during the six burn evolutions firefighters simulated going down, after which the R.I.T. crew entered the dwelling to rescue the downed firefighters. Instructors lit fires within the dwelling six different times. Yesterday, other firefighters went to a single-family dwelling at another site, and practiced the same techniques-another example of FDIC’s ability to use myriad resources to make this a first-class training operation.
Yesterday I stated that I don’t believe anyone can come to this show and not walk away impressed by the scope and depth of the training offered. The scope of training-from confined space rescue, elevator rescue, high angle rescue to bread and butter dwelling fire operations-is clear just from the list of H.O.T. evolutions and classroom sessions. The depth of the training can be summed up by quoting one firefighter at today’s live burn evolution who said, “I come back to this every year, and every year I learn something new-and I’ve been a firefighter for 28 years!”
Tomorrow, April 10, commences with the opening ceremonies for FDIC 2002. It is going to be an emotional day for all, as hundreds of uniformed firefighters gather to remember those brothers and sisters we lost on September 11, 2001. After two days of training together, we’ll come together as one body to remember our fellow firefighters knowing that the dedication of the men and women standing around us-students and teachers alike-has better equipped us to handle the various types of calls to which we’ll respond when we’re back in service next week. It is because of organizations like FDIC that we are afforded the opportunity to see first hand that dedication and benefit from it. Have a great show.
By Chris Mc Loone