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Training in Pea Ridge provides self

May 29, 2024

PEA RIDGE -- An old wooden house was burned Saturday morning as part of a training exercise for firefighters.

Firefighters from Pea Ridge, Avoca, Northeast Benton County and Little Flock fire departments joined in rescue training at a structure on Dove Road and Arkansas 72 on June 9 and Saturday.

"Because we work closely with our mutual aide partners on scene, we feel we should also train with them," according to Fire Department officials on the department's Facebook page.

On June 9, crews trained on search drills to locate a fallen firefighter in an unknown location in the house. Once located, the victim was to be extracted from the structure by means of a firefighter drag technique.

Firefighters also practiced self rescue by breaching an exterior wall while simulating a low air situation. They were given five minutes to extricate themselves.

On Saturday, firefighters performed a live burn on the structure, providing firefighters the ability to see how live fire spreads from ignition by a small lighter to fully involved structure fire in a very short period of time. With this structure, it was roughly 30 minutes from ignition to the structure on the ground.

A water curtain was constantly sprayed between the burning house and the highway to reduce the extreme heat emitted by the flames, according to Pea Ridge Fire Chief Clint Bowen. "With all that heat, that's about when your gear is starting to fail. I can't tell you how many face pieces I've cracked. You don't even realize it because you can't really see in there anyway."

Rescue drags and self-extrication were practiced to learn and reinforce the quickest and safest way to remove a victim from a burning structure.

"If they ever find themselves separated from their partner, if they ever get in trouble, if we have an unexpected roof collapse, anything like that, they have to get out on their own, that they have a tool and they can get out of that house," Bowen said. "That's one of the big things.

"This was a good house because it was an older one and had real wood all the way around it," Bowen explained, adding that all the air bottles are drained down to the five-minute mark. "Last night ... we had a lot of volunteers from NEBCO, Avoca and Little Flock show up because we're wanting to do joint training because we want them to be able to work together well.

"I wanted them to learn what their capabilities were, and I want them to know what their capabilities were," Bowen said. "A lot of people that got through in plenty of time and they realized that's what they do, and we had a lot of people who took longer and realized they need more training."

He said the training also gives officers an opportunity to assess each firefighter's abilities.

"There's a lot of self-recognition we have to do here," Bowen said.

Capt. Aaron Butler and Lt. Shane Henson said the time and temperature of a fire varies with the material being burned. They said modern homes and furnishing are usually constructed with products manufactured with petroleum-based products and burn more quickly than solid wood. They also said toxic gases are emitted in the smoke from fire.

Print Headline: Fired up for training

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