Monday, September 22, 2008

Well hello there!!!

Been almost exactly 11 days since my last entry, not because i've been lazy but because i've been too damned busy.

Its coming up on skills testing for my FF I/II class, so its getting a little more intense, the only class we really have left before testing is Incident Command System/Rapid Intervention Team lecture. Basically the meat and potatoes of how to run an indicent and what to do when something goes real bad real quick.

RIT should be fun. For those of you who arent fire- service-ish RIT or RIT Team if you want to be reduntantly redundant, its the we save the firefighter firefighters. Say one team goes into the house to advance a hose through the house to the back of the garage to push a housefire out the front door, the garage door colapses on them and poof, bad shit all around. The RIT team is the group of firefighters that goes in to save their collective rear ends from the "oh no shit went wrong situation". We've practiced a little with the hardware but this is the lecture where you learn what that stuff is good for and really how to implement it.

Overall besides that school has been difficult but fun. The majority of the time since my last entry has been focused on Hoselines and Forcible entry.

As far as hoses i know there's a few little things i've got to work on but there's nothing that isnt really common sense. Its a little misleading, you think oh its just a hose, how hard could it be to control. And in all honest it isnt all that hard to control its the intervening circumstances that make it difficult. The fact that its like the garden hose from hell, 100# of backpressure on a straight stream, a little less on a solid stream and its downright easy on fog pattern. Combine that 100# force with slimy gloves, slick floors, and being tired (all real life conditions) and you've got one hell of a different task than it looks to be. The nozzles are pretty easy, little technical things and nitpicking things when it comes to deploying the hoses the right way (how you lay out the hose in front of the entrance, the process for calling for water, the order in which you have to do things, and even how you pull it down off the engine, its racked a certain way to make it easier but there is still a lot of technique in doing it right.

Now its on to Forcible entry, Ventilation, and Power tools, the first real class where you stand a chance of maiming/killing yourself outright. Lecture was good, not all that boring and we actually learned why we do certain things, and some easier way to do stuff in the field. Cutting a hole in a roof, sounds stupid right? but its got a purpose. Fire is A) HOT! and B) makes a lot of smoke, both of them want to go up, so why not let them, cut a hole right over the fire and you've now let the heat out of the room, and you've given it a palce to go other than sideways and spreading. All pretty darned simple when you think about it. But, now you've got to get someone on the roof with a chainsaw, yup ON THE ROOF! with a CHAINSAW!

Here's the part that amazes me, a chainsaw is a loud dangerous looking tool, how then, is it possible to not have a built in amount of respect/fear of this thing. The way some people fling it around amazes me, some people this weekend almost lost legs/arms/heads this is gonna take some practice. I've used them before so i was a little more comfrotable than most but still had some issues to deal with.

The real fun this weekend was the Forcible Entry day. I've got a few pictures so i'll let them do a little bit of the talking. Our lead instructor got us access to a house someone was going to have demolished anyways, perfect! An opportunity to really practice breaking down doors, punching through walls, breaking out windows...all the fun stuff. We also got to get up on a real roof using a real roof ladder. This was a monster roof, a lot of people had a hard time cutting through it. But i got it done in good order and on to the next task. Our other stations were Hooking (pulling down ceilings and busting out windows), Breeching (punching holes in walls big enough to crawl through without bringing the wall down around you, oh and floors too, holes in floors are fun), Forcible entry (busting through doors in different ways, in, out, through, around) and then ... THE FINAL BREACH!!!

Our instructor picked a nice sturdy wall and said, ok 2 teams!!! BUST A HOLE AND GET THE "F" OUT!!!!

then this happened:

Jim in the Officer's Seat on the way there

Yup, tiny little holes in the side of the house, crawled through these in full gear. We had to MAKE these holes, that wall is cinder block on the inside with a brick veneer, the only things we had were a sledge and a haligan.


1 comment:

Epijunky said...

You're right, it's easy to assume that fighting a fire is as easy as putting the wet stuff on the hot stuff.

I was one of those people who assumed such. Until I worked with a FF for a pretty decent period of time...

I have an UNGODLY amount of respect for ya'll.