MFRD Meets Training Requirements
Murphy Fire Rescue Department implemented Air Consumption Drills in 2017, which is a test of firefighters’ endurance. Murphy Lieutenant Adam Kroviak explained, “This is a test of firefighters’ endurance during fire ground activities.” Regarding the goal of the test, he said, “For our personnel to understand their capacity on a fire ground.”
Each member of MFRD is required to complete this test annually. On Nov. 3, C Shift fulfilled their requirement. In the parking lot behind Murphy Fire Station, while wearing bunker gear and SCBA (which together weighs approximately 60 lbs.) firefighters performed actions which simulated what they can experience in a structure fire. They utilized fire hoses, ladders, stairs, a roof cut simulator and a drag dummy during the drill.
The SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus) contains 45 minutes of air for a person at rest. However, that time is cut to approximately 20 minutes when a person is under working conditions. Firefighters went through stations that increased in difficulty level. An alarm is built into the SCBA which indicates when the air level is getting low. During the drill, the sounding of the alarm is an indicator that the drill is almost over, but in a real fire situation, this will be the indicator that if the firefighter is deep into the building they need to start working their way out of the structure.
These drill situations allow firefighters to know what it feels like to have taken in all the air in their bottle. Kroviak said, “It is important to know proper techniques, because it will allow you to work more efficiently.” The firefighters said they felt the most strain in their legs and lungs during this drill. They said the air in the tanks becomes cold and that makes it harder on their lungs. The fitness level of a firefighter determines how fast the air is depleted. The age of members of C Shift range from 26 – 50 years old. Firefighters were monitored during this drill.
C Shift opted to complete this requirement at the end of their shift. Kroviak explains why this time was chosen, “Given the nature and extent of these tasks, our crew will complete this task as they were leaving for home so that they can utilize their time off for recovery and keep them fresh for incidents while on shift.”
Summarizing, Kroviak said, “The tasks that these firefighters did simulate multiple fire ground activities/assignments performed simultaneously and at once. So whereas they might normally be assigned one or two of these tasks at a fire, they performed all of them multiple times, without rest/rehab. This fatigue and stress is very similar to performing multiple structure fire responses. As a comparison, if a standard structure fire response was considered a 5K, these firefighters ran a marathon in order to test their endurance and understand their capacity under working conditions. This helps them to understand their working time while in gear, and on air, and the amount of time they have to exit the structure in the event their low air alarm sounds.”