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Deary Rural Fire District

PO Box 222, 403 Main Street

Deary, Idaho 83823-0222
Helmer House Burn, Joint

Training Session with Bovill Volunteer Fire Dept.

by Brian Robertson

Thick smoke rolled out from the windows and doors as people looking as strange as something from a sci-fi movie appeared from the choking blackness.

No, it’s not a script from a Hollywood set, it’s from Helmer, Idaho! The script was written on March 31, as firefighters from Bovill and Deary joined together for a ‘live burn’ training session. helmburn1.JPG (30686 bytes)

The purpose of the exercise was to give Bovill and Deary a chance to compare equipment and check its compatibility in the event either department had to work together in a mutual aid situation.

Firefighting crews from Deary and Bovill check their protective gear and lay hose for the live-fire burn held last week in Helmer.

Bovill brought one pumper truck while Deary had one pumper and a water tender. The water tender is used on rural fires where there are no hydrants, such as in Helmer. Deary’s truck holds approximately 4500 gallons.

helmburn2.JPG (20673 bytes)The tender was connected to Deary’s pumper truck which then fed water to Bovill’s pumper. In this way, each truck can be assured of an adequate water supply at all times.

Firefighters practice defensive fire control after the building was ‘let go’ to burn. The purpose of defensive tactics is to control the fire enough so that exposed adjacent structures are not damaged by the tremendous heat radiation from a free-burning fire.

The other purpose of this type of training is to give firefighters a chance to get ‘up close and personal’ with fire. Before the training fire was lit, both departments held a meeting to discuss exactly what was going to happen, which personnel were going to enter the building and a backup team was assembled to protect persons inside the burning structure, should the need arise.

After donning protective equipment and SCBAs (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus), a small fire was lit in one of the back bedrooms of the house. (The house by the way, was donated for the burn by the Olson family).helmburn3.JPG (23192 bytes)

As the fire builds, firefighters can practice attacking the fire at the ‘seed’. This type of interior attack is the best way to stop a fire in a structure. But, it is also the most dangerous. Learning to put on firefighter’s protective equipment properly is extremely important as interior temperatures can rise dramatically fast. Any exposed skin can be severely burned.

Fire chiefs, Bob Shook (l), from Bovill and Tim Jones from Deary held a meeting with all personnel to plan the training session in Helmer.

Learning to know how fire behaves in a structure is hard to learn, especially when you can only read about it in a book. Being able to practice with live fire teaches fire personnel about fire behavior and to recognize safety hazards inherent with fighting structure fires.

After each team of firefighters got their chance to enter the burning building and extinguishing the fire, the building was ‘let go’ to burn. This part of the activity gives firefighters a chance to practice their defensive skills in protecting other exposed structures and surrounding property. TOT

We were last updated: 04/12/2001

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