Cedartown Fire and Rescue hosted firefighters from Rockmart and county volunteer departments last week for a training exercise.
The local department had the use of a Firefighter Survival Simulator on loan from the fire department in Cobb County. Firefighters took turns navigating the plywood structure, which was designed with a variety of obstructions and “traps” designed to mimic conditions that firefighters might encounter while putting out structure fires.
One section included a door that would snap shut, trapping the participant in a small area, where he had to wait for others to get him out. Firefighters had to complete the maze of compartments while wearing full firefighting suits, respirators and other gear.
The simulator has seen much use and has traveled around the state on loan to numerous fire departments. Messages written on its side from users included the note, “I lost 20 pounds. Thanks Survival Simulator!”
The simulator wrapped up a year of intensive training needed to satisfy requirements of the Georgia Firefighter Standard and Training Council. All four firefighting agencies in Polk County (Cedartown, Rockmart, Aragon and Polk County Volunteer Fire Department) are in compliance with the agency's training standards.
“This closes out our ’07 training schedule,” said Steven Manning, Battalion Chief and Training Officer with Cedartown Fire and Rescue. “We try to finish up before the holidays.”
A few weeks ago, the department held its annual live fire exercise. The department has a large steel container on Branch Street that they use to simulate the conditions of a structure fire. This event is also often the first experience that firefighters in training have with putting out a real fire.
The Fire Science students at Coosa Valley Technical College took part in the training this year, Manning said.
Rockmart Fire and Emergency Services personnel took part in last week’s simulator training, which was held from Monday, Nov. 17 through Thursday, Nov. 20. Also on hand was firefighter Jason Robinson, who brought the simulator over from Cobb County.
Volunteer firefighters with county departments No. 1, No. 5 and No. 7 also took part, Manning said.
Last week's training, called the Firefighter Survival Drill, had several parts that had to be followed in order.
Participants first followed a blue hose into the structure, through a restricted entrance. Maintaining contact with the hose.
The next compartment had ropes, which served as an "entanglement hazard." They were to remove themselves with approved techniques, which include rotating 45 degrees, placing their air bottle in the void at the wall and floor, and sliding through on their backs, also using the backstroke swim method.