We don’t get very many car fires here on Hornby. In fact there hasn’t been one since I joined the department. Despite their infrequent occurance, extinguishing them safely is a skill that we like to keep up on. To that end we have constructed a prop which is a stripped minivan that we can pack full of wooden pallets and set on fire.
Newer cars present many challenges for fire suppression:
Bumper struts can explode shooting a bumper into a firefighter’s knees.
Air bags can explode with shrapnel.
Hatchback struts can explode and shoot a metal rod like a crossbow bolt.
Newer cars have plastic fuel tanks which can drop off of the car and melt releasing gasoline onto the ground.
Working in teams of three, firefighters approach the vehicle from the side or corner dumping as much cooling water onto the flames and under the car as possible. When they get close they open the nozzle pattern to a fog to protect them from the heat of the fire. Once at the car, the nozzle pattern gets narrowed again to fit through the window and extinguish the fire.
Our new training officer, Sasha LeBaron has been cracking the whip to get our members to advance their training. Last Thursday saw a flurry of exams.
Ian Emberton continued his in-house firefighter exam. All that remains is his written exam and he can remove the rookie designation from his helmet.
Doug Chinnery wrote and passed his module 6 written exam dealing with salvage and overhaul operations on the fire scene.
Patrick Lui completed his module 2 practical exam where he demonstrated textbook fire extinguisher technique and masterful donning on turnout gear and breathing apparatus.
Dave Hanna wrote his module 7 exam, the topic being sprinkler systems, public education, and fire prevention.
David Cloud wrote both module 6 and his hazmat awareness exam.
Each of last few months has seen several people advancing their training by writing exams and completing practical evaluations. This is good news for the individual, for the department, and for the community at large. Thanks to Sasha for driving this process, Duncan and Giff for administering the exams, and for all the firefighters who are spending even more of their spare time to better themselves and the department.
The tank at the bottom of Sollans had its plumbing completed last week and the Chief was able to fill it by pumping it full of groundwater. That leaves only the tank at the top of Euston Road to be completed before all of our new tanks are in service.
“A dryer and the attached vent system requires regular cleaning and maintenance, just like your furnace or other fuel burning equipment. Lack of regular cleaning and maintenance of dryers and their attached venting systems, has been identified as causing fires.”
The BC Safety Authority has issued a safety alert about maintaining your dryer vent. The upshot is that when lint collects in the vent, the dryer has to work harder to push the air out. This will heat up the dryer even more, creating a feedback loop and possibly a fire hazard. Read the whole alert here.
Jed has finished with the plumbing on another water supply tank, we have pumped it full of water, and it’s now ready to be used. Sure, the landscaping leaves a bit to be desired, but that will get fixed up when the ground dries out a bit. We’ve been really lucky that there has been enough groundwater near the new tanks that we have been able to pump directly into the tanks instead of shuttling 15 loads per tank from the fire hall.
We held the 2011 Annual General Meeting last night where we elect members to the positions of Fire Chief, Deputy Chief, and Treasurer. There was no change to these positions for the upcoming year. The management team remains:
Fire Chief: Giff LaRose
Deputy Chief: Doug Chinnery
Treasurer: Len Olsen
Captain: Al Cannon
Captain: Rob Zielinski
Training Officer: Sasha Lebaron
Thanks to everyone that came to the meeting and provided feedback to the management team. We’re all looking forward to the upcoming year.