Great Bend firefighters spent Wednesday morning putting out fires in the “Burn Building,” a training area located behind Fire Station No. 2.
It was the second day of tactical training led by Lt. Kevin Maloney from the Greeley (Colorado) Fire Department. Day One was more of a classroom experience, but Wednesday’s training involved extinguishing actual fires using a method known as a Positive Pressure Attack.
Chief Mike Napolitano said the GBFD has used positive pressure for a number of years, but training under controlled conditions allows them to safely fine-tune their skills. The Burn Building was added to the training area in 2014.
“There’s lot of different situations these guys face at a fire,” Maloney said. Positive pressure works well on some residential fires.
The Burn Building, with fictional address 343 Fire Lane, looks like a single-story home. A training fire was started in one of its rooms, and a fire truck was dispatched to the scene. After checking the perimeter of the house and locating the source of the fire, crew members set up a high power fan in the east entrance — and smoke and flames were soon blown out a window on the west side of the building.
“It’s a full blast of air – which is counter-intuitive to most firefighters,” Maloney said. But the smoke pouring out of the window was smoke that would have been circulating inside the house. The blast of air cooled the room more quickly than water would and provided a safe path for firefighters going in – or occupants coming out. “The air removes most of the heat and water puts the fire out.”
Maloney said this method of fighting fires can be more efficient than other tactics, which is especially important for departments with small staffs.
The fans are the same ones used to remove smoke from homes after a fire