Just as every year, soon after Firefighter Day we start wrapping up our yearly initial training of junior members in the skills of high angle rope rescue (and the related retraining for senior members) in order to move to fire emergency training in late fall. This allows us to smoothly transition our weekly training exercises to live fire scenarios in the coldest months, which supports optimal safety planning.
With this approach in mind, another big step in maximizing our effectiveness for all areas of Lions Bay was taken on November 6, when we conducted an extensive fire emergency training scenario at the upper part of Brunswick Beach. Three houses up Crystal Falls Road had previously never had fire coverage, due to the extreme difference in elevation, as well as distance between those residences and the hydrant located at the corner of the Brunswick Beach off-ramp.
As readers who stay interested in our departmentʼs ongoing developments know, we are trading our “old” engine 63 for a more modern, yet used replacement. One of the advantages of this transition will be the improved ability for relay pumping, a process in which one engine connects to the hydrant water source and pumps a steady source stream to the second engine located farther “down” the line, and in this case, very far up the mountain.
So to apply this process assuming a real emergency for this Crystal Falls scenario, our firefighters hauled about 900 feet of our biggest line (of a 4 inch diameter and heavy as lead) up the mountain in record time, to connect engine 61, located down by the hydrant, to engine 63, which was about 3/4 of the way up toward the dwellings. From there it was another good 250 feet to the supposedly burning houses, which we covered with a 2.5 inch line that connected to a portable hydrant (a distribution and valve appliance), allowing us to connect and supply all needed lines for an offensive mode.
This was crucial, as an offensive mode allows us to not only “defend” unaffected houses and prevent a fire from spreading into the trees, but to also aggressively enter the building with an attack team (whose goal it is to strike the fire), a search team (searching for victims trapped in the building) and a RIT team (for emergency interventions) along with their respective water lines.
While both engines had to work hard to supply these huge amounts of water needed that far up this very steep road, the fluctuations of flow and pressure were within acceptable limits and the scenario ended as a huge success. The team worked even faster than we could have hoped for, and all lines were flowing water at sufficient levels. Our mayor, Brenda Broughton, was on location to witness the determined response of the fire department in this exercise together with the owners of the houses in question, and after the satisfied debrief and reloading of all gear, everyone was all smiles over some great hot dogs in the sun.
These scenarios sure are part of what makes it such fun to be involved in the fire department!
Photos by: Hanne Sorensen
Please mark Sunday May 26th on your calendars now. More updates can be obtained here or through the Art Council website: Link to Lions Bay Art Council website