Twain Harte Community Services District's (THCSD) fire department on November 1, 2019 hosted a live-fire training for Columbia College Fire Academy students as well as for firefighter instructors-in-training.
The live-fire training facility, located on THCSD's Vantage Pointe Drive campus, consists of five stations through which trainees rotate: Four involve learning about both interior and exterior fire behavior and accessing structures, while one is a firefighter rehabilitation station.
Three of the stations utilize large metal shipping containers (some stacked to mimic a two-story house, complete with furniture) outfitted with burn barrels to replicate conditions found in a real structure fire. Sheetrock is used instead of glass windows and oriented strand board (OSB) stands in for drywall and plaster, as these substitute materials are easily replaceable. Skills learned and practiced at the stations include: venting a structure; searching for and rescuing victims; and pulling hoses. One station, a frame supporting a door with various lock configurations, is used for forcible-entry training.
The fifth station is the Twain Harte Area Community Emergency Response Team's (CERT) portable firefighter-rehabilitation station. Firefighters get water, cool off, clean their skin of any ashes or debris, and have their vital signs checked.
THCSD utilized its new thermal imaging-capable UAV as part of the training. The new UAV is used to find victims in smoke-filled structures, among other benefits. See the story here for more information.
Trainings held at the facility have drawn agencies not only from the local area, but from the Central Valley, Bay Area and even as far as Honolulu, Hawaii. Today's training drew dozens of representatives from agencies in Tuolumne County, Madera, Merced, San Jose, San Francisco, Alameda and others. Approximately 30 Columbia College students attended today's training.
VES (Vent-Enter-Search) Station