When You Know It All, You Should Retire
A three-day training event was held by Murphy Fire Rescue Department (MFRD) at 210 E FM 544 March 19 – 21. Members of Murphy, Wylie and Parker fire departments participated in the training which included scenarios and equipment training.
MFRD Lieutenant Drex Dorman was the safety officer during this training event, he said, “There are many goals for mutual aid training in acquired structures. For one, firefighters get to work closely with the other crews from surrounding cities. Working with other crews allows Murphy FD to exchange ideas and techniques that make us all better at our jobs. Another goal for training is allowing firefighters to practice real life situations and improve skills for actual emergencies.”
On March 21, scenarios included a wall breaching drill and structure fire. Regarding the wall breaching drill, Dorman said, “(It) was used to enhance self-rescue techniques in the event that firefighters become trapped and need to make an exit to save themselves. This drill is physically demanding and is used as a last resort!” Firefighters worked as a team, wielding their strength and axes to create an exit from the inside of the house to the outside. The structure fire scenario included a victim and a mayday activation. Dorman said, “Mayday is a term used to express the need of rescue for the firefighter. The firefighters enter the structure under the direction of an incident commander. The firefighters are given different assignments, for example fire attack, primary search, rapid intervention team and ventilation just to name a few. This is all conducted in a zero visibility environment …and makes everything much more challenging. The crews are expected to extinguish the fire, find the victim, and rescue the downed firefighter all in a real life environment with little to no visibility. This can be very challenging to say the least!”
In addition to the scenarios, firefighters attending this valuable training event were able to practice using many tools in their tool box. Dorman said, “There are many tools in a firefighter’s tool box, such as the pike pole, a halligan bar or hydraulic extraction tools. Each tool serves a different function and it is the responsibility of the firefighter using them to not be a novice, but an expert with each tool. The community expects us to be able to break into vehicles, fix a water leak, provide emergency medical treatment or stop a raging fire. As you can imagine, providing these types of services requires knowledge of a tremendous number of tools. For example, the K-12 is a saw that can cut through metal, wood, concrete, etc. and is very useful in a multitude of rescue operations. (The K-12 drill simulated making entry through the garage door during a structure fire. This is often done to gain access to the breaker box, fight fire, or save property like a vehicle.) Another tool that we use is the T.I.C. or the Thermal Imaging Camera. This device is integrated into all SCBAs (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) of the Murphy Fire Department. The T.I.C. device allows us to see an infrared or thermal image on a screen even in a zero visibility environment. The T.I.C. helps us to keep our bearings and to locate fire victims more quickly.”
Roof ventilation was another skill practiced during training. Dorman said, “The roof ventilation drill is conducted to improve the skills involved in vertical ventilation. There are many ways to remove heat and smoke from a building and this is considered just another tool in the toolbox. Typically, a crew is dispatched to the roof above the fire to cut a hole and remove the super-heated gases from the structure. This is done to improve visibility and reduce heat inside the structure. Remember, heat rises!”
Dorman said that everyone benefits from this type of training. He explains, “The firefighters, rookie and experienced, become more competent in their skills, which in many ways can decrease the dangers of the job. The community gets a better trained fire department to respond to emergencies. In the fire service, we believe that the day you think you know it all is the day you should retire.”
The house that was utilized for this training was owned by long time Murphy resident Dessie Haker. She lived in this home for over 50 years and passed away on January 15, 2016. The developers of the property allowed MFRD to use the house for training. It will be demolished next month.