Firefighters from Pictou County and surrounding areas got some first-hand experience in the behavior of fire over the weekend as the Westville Fire and Rescue Department hosted a training course put on by Drager Canada
While firefighters often train by putting out a hot fire, this particular event also allowed them to take some time to sit back and watch how fire responds in specific situations, Westville Fire Chief Kenny Dunn said.
Participants at the Drager LiFTT training (Live Fire Training Tour) included people from not only Pictou County departments, but as far away as New Brunswick. It was held Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct 14 on property across the road from the Helipad in Westville.
One scenario was a propane fire, one simulated a car fire and another demonstrated what’s known as a roll over which occurs when gasses build up and explode inside a building. Another was a maze and allowed firefighters to test how to maneuver through tight areas with their gear on and to see how much they could exert themselves before their oxygen levels got low.
Sandi Davis John, Director of Marketing for Drager Canada said they travel across the country to offer this type of training. She said Westville’s Fire and Rescue Department did a great job getting people from the surrounding area to take part.
She believes that local departments can gain value by gleaning from the knowledge of instructors from other departments who are brought in to teach the course.
“We were doing some propane fueled live fires earlier today,” she said Sunday. “The value of doing a propane fire is the operator shuts that fire off in a second. They can really focus on firefighting skills.”
The roll over simulator is made of two shipping containers which are constructed in a way that allows the fire to build up in one area and roll over while firefighters watch in a safe zone.
“They can watch all the stages of the fire as it develops so they can recognize them in a real-life scenario,” Davis John said.
Davis John said it’s amazing how dark it can become inside.
“There can be a fire burning but the smoke builds up and lowers down until you can’t see anything,” she said.
Firefighters use thermal imaging cameras to watch as the fire continues.
While, part of their goal in hosting these events is to promote their products, Davis John said she also hopes it offers valuable experiences to those who took part.