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Firefighters put to test in simulation drill

Provided by the Flash Formation enterprise, the main teachings were about analyzing and reading smoke in a fire and using of thermal imaging cameras and nozzle techniques. (Natalia Fedosieieva, The Eastern Door)

Major training with the controlled fire took place at the Kahnawake Fire Brigade (KFB) last weekend to give the firefighters simulated situations in order to prepare them for real ones.

This training was designed for the three groups of eight or nine firefighters to better understand the different signs of smoke such as the neutral plane, velocity, density, colour and volume as well as its behavior during a fire, according to the instructors.

Flash Formation instructor Simon Chartier, who has been doing this work for four years, said they were using the Reading Smoke Concept Ignition (RISC) thermal simulator to recreate certain thermal phenomenon and to learn more about the fire dynamics, smoke pattern analysis, ventilation control, backdraft and the gasification of hydrogen.

“We can see three kinds of the fire phenomenon: smoke explosion, the backdraft and a flash fire,” he said. “During this training the guys can see and to learn those sings, they have to go back and see something, because their lives will depend on the action.”

KFB captain officer Rodrigue Caplette explained the training sequence included three parts: thermal phenomenon, smoke reading inside the container, and a visual of what the trainees have learnt.

“We have to learn today different things,” he said, “And first of the things is the (importance of )safety of everybody. All that is to prevent heat phenomenon inside the fire, so it is to avoid the flash over and gas explosions that the firefighters can be injured by,” Caplette said, adding measuring the heat phenomenon can be a real challenge for firefighters. “It looks like basic, just sitting down and watching with the doors being open and flames going over,” he continued. “But it is all about heat feeling, how to see different smoke layers and how fast the fire could develop, what kind of the fire, and a pressure wave towards the fire. So, we can have that experience of all those small things, but in a controlled room,” he said.

Caplette said one of the worst things can happen to a firefighter is flashover, because “all the room gets flash from up to bottom in one flame and the heat increases from several hundred degrees to 2,000 degrees,” he said. “That is very dangerous for the firefighters,” he added. “So, before that happens, we need to know how to read what is surrounding us, and that is why we have a training today.”

Trainee firefighter Keith Rice said four different instructors provided useful information. “It prepares you to the situations that can occur. I just observed today that we’ve learnt over the years about flashover and flash phenomena,” he said. “With different versions of our equipment we were just able to simulate things that can happen in the actual fire.”

He added the RISC thermal simulator is the best thing to train with, in his opinion.

“It is a closed container with a certain ventilation courts, that can simulate ventilation to help distinguish the fire,” he said. “It is exactly what we need as firefighters to better ourselves in order to save homes, people, ourselves and our partners, “ he said, adding that he appreciated the importance of the training sequences.

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