New training tool helps improve the Blakely Fire Department - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New training tool helps improve the Blakely Fire Department

September 2, 2007

Blakely -- Smoke pours out the door as firefighters work hard to battle the blaze. But as real as it seems, it's not what you think. "Regular quality training is what we needed to make it safer for the firefighters as well as to be more effective in extinguishing fires and performing rescues," said Blakely Fire Chief, Kenneth Jones.

And the Mobile Live Fire Trainer will help the Blakely Fire Department do just that. "This is very realistic. There is real fire in there, and you really have to respect it because if you don't you will get hurt," said firefighter, Cedric Powell.

The two story unit has several hot spots where flames shoot out. The very same places that start most of the house fires they respond to. "Like a stove, a bed and a sofa, and we are able to go in and extinguish that," said Chief Jones.

The walls in the Mobile Live Fire Trainer are adjustable; so that when firefighters come in to train, there is a different floor plan.

The mobile unit will provide training the firefighters don't get unless it is the real thing. "You are not going to have a house fire everyday. So its a good training method for us," said Powell.

But its the realistic conditions the unit can create that are really impressive. "Up to 600 degrees, the fire goes four to six feet in the air. And the smoke, it gets so thick inside that you can't even see yourself inside of there," said Powell.

And its these very conditions that will make the firefighters more effective. "By them training more often, they will become more familiar with the equipment. And they will be better at saving lives and preventing property loss in the community," said Chief Jones.

That 53 foot training unit took about four months to be built for the fire department. Blakely firefighters hope that the unit can also be used by other area fire departments.

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