Burning the midnight oil: Firefighters practice night scenarios

Firefighters arrive on scene as smoke billows out of a building. They make entry into a second story window and are bathed in the orange glow of the flames raging inside. This was the scene at the Temple Fire & Rescue Training Center last week as the department practiced night training scenarios.

“A lot of our fires happen at night, so it makes sense that when we train, at least a portion of training is at night time,” Temple Fire & Rescue Public Educator Santos Soto said.

A training building at the facility allows the department to set controlled fires, allowing firefighters and rescuers to train for a variety of scenarios.

Night Burn 2

“The technology is pretty amazing. We’re able to burn inside that facility. That gives us the opportunity to put fire in one or more rooms in a safe and controlled manner,” Soto said.

“It could be just a first-floor fire, a rescue situation or a mayday situation where a firefighter may go down and then we’ve got two rescues.”

That variability of the training facility also means that when firefighters pull up to the facility, they don’t know what kind of situation they’ll encounter.

“The training scenarios are never the same, Soto said

Night training occurs at least twice a year. Crews spent three nights last week conducting different training scenarios. Soto said the various scenarios help firefighters prepare for what they may see in a real-world situation.

“It could be anything from making a simple door inaccessible where we have to use a ladder to rescue subjects, or it could be a pretty intensive training where they simulate part of a roof collapse and we have to get debris out of the way to get to the simulated occupants,” Soto said. “The training we do in there gives us a better view of what would encounter in real life.”

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