Thursday, January 17, 2008

"Firefighters 'feel the heat' in new training facility


"Firefighters 'feel the heat' in new training facility
Richard Liebson • The Journal News • January 17, 2008

VALHALLA - Firefighters are only as good as their training and for local
departments, the training just got a little better.Westchester County yesterday
unveiled its new live burn room, which allows first responders to practice under
the most realistic conditions possible. The $22,000 burn room, where fires
fueled by hay and wood are set for training exercises, is on the fourth floor of
the Department of Emergency Service's six-story training tower."You don't have
to go far to see that our downtowns are growing and that high-rise buildings are
going up," County Executive Andrew Spano said during a training demonstration
involving the Fairview, Hartsdale, New Rochelle and White Plains fire
departments. "Firefighting in these buildings is very different than what we're
used to, and it's critical that we provide firefighters with the best training
possible for the new challenges they face

Yet another training oppurtunity I missed out on, as I am still unable to return to work despite being cleared by doctors months ago. Another story for another day, just makes me frusterated to keep missing great training oppurtunities. I can't wait to train in this new simulator, though. It would have been great if it were there during probie school. This is definetly a great asset, especially with buildings getting taller and taller. It also test's firefighter's ability to fight fire on a different level (excuse the pun) and their endurance to set up and fight the fire.

Hartsdale Fire Chief Walter Schoonmaker agreed, saying the drill demonstrates
"how well the different fire departments can work together. The burn room is
great because it creates a more realistic training atmosphere. With a real fire
going in there, the guys feel the kind of heat they'll face doing an interior

Departments do work well together, it doesn't take a burn room to demonstrate that. Guys who are at the level to use this simulator understand the heat they'll face, I feel this simulator is more geared towards the logistics of fighting a high-rise fire, rather then to have the "feel the heat". I feel that some of the Chiefs who are involved with this drill should be learning and training on ICS as it relates to high rise fires, as well as other logistical concerns. Not only is this an oppurtunity for firefighters, but for leaders as well to see how they deploy and sharpen their leadership skills.