Clinton firefighters participate in training exercise to 'save baby'

Dec 22 2011 - 12:26am

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NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner 
Firefighter Chris Winter exits through a window during a training exercise on Wednesday in Clinton.
NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner 
Firefighter Eric Gomm carries a hose from a house during a training exercise.  See video at www.standard.net
NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner 
Firefighter Chris Winter exits through a window during a training exercise on Wednesday in Clinton.
NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner 
Firefighter Eric Gomm carries a hose from a house during a training exercise.  See video at www.standard.net

CLINTON -- Firefighter Chris Winter, clutching a small bundle to simulate a child, bailed out of the back bedroom window with smoke billowing around him.

He was followed by his partner, firefighter Eric Gomm, who used a rose bush to help balance himself as he slid sideways through the small window opening onto the lawn.

The two Clinton firefighters participated in a training exercise Thursday morning at 800 N. 2000 West, Clinton.

Their mission was to find a "baby" in the smoke-filled home, said Deputy Chief Dave Olsen.

Traffic at the intersection slowed down as commuters tried to see what was going on.

"They did phenomenal (work)," said Fire Chief Jason Poulsen, who was inside the smoke-filled house watching the training. "They couldn't see a thing. They had a good wide pattern, and they found the baby."

The home, which is owned by Utah Department of Transportation, is slated for demolition next week, Poulsen said.

UDOT asked Poulsen if his firefighters wanted to use the house for training purposes.

"We'll take as many of these houses as we can and use them to our advantage," Poulsen said.

Empty homes are not often available for firefighter training, firefighters said.

"These training exercises are great opportunities for us to train as if our lives depend on it, because our lives do depend on it," Olsen said.

The firefighters used smoke devices to create the smoke. The building itself was not actually on fire, although firefighters started a few fires inside donated shopping carts that were in the home as part of the training.

Capt. Ben Nielson said the training exercises also help firefighters find the "bugs" in radio equipment and other equipment when it is not a matter of life and death.

At one point, the two firefighters inside the small house had a difficult time hearing what was being said. A small adjustment to the radio headset was made.

The firefighters also worked on the basics, Olsen said, such as "room and content fire."

Olsen and the others who were outside of the building had the opportunity to work on "command structure," so when they are called to put out a real fire, they can efficiently handle the emergency, he said.

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