The First Southern Baptist Church owned four old houses near its facility at 19th and Harrison with plans to raze them to expand parking.
However, before demolition, the church gave the Great Bend Fire Department an opportunity to utilize the structures for hands-on training. “Thank you to First Southern Baptist Church for providing the Fire Department with a great training opportunity,” Chief Luke McCormick said.
On Dec. 18, firefighters practiced vertical ventilation on the roof of one of the houses, Battalion Chief Eugene Perkins said. Vertical ventilation is done to release heat and smoke from a structure, so that firefighters can enter the structure more safely to perform a rescue or to extinguish the fire.
“We don’t do it very often, but it can be crucial under certain circumstances,” Perkins said. “It is difficult to realistically practice this skill, so we appreciated this opportunity.”
Previously, on Dec. 11, GBFD personnel did rapid intervention team (RIT) drills. “Most of the time, firefighters rescue civilians at structure fires, but sometimes firefighters have to rescue firefighters,”
When firefighters become trapped or disoriented at a structure fire, other firefighters are formed into teams to enter the structure and rescue them. These teams are know as RITs.
Additional training took place at the site through this past Monday.
One of the four houses has been razed and work is continuing on the others.