On Saturday, September 17, 2011, the Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department held training and a house burning in Huntingtown on Hunting Creek Road.
It is these training exercises that help the new members learn more about the fire service and members that have been around a while to help others and keep their skill up to standard. It starts with the homeowner donating the house to the fire department so training can be done. This site was donated about six weeks ago and has been used during that time for training by the Huntingtown VFD for their weekly drill.
The Huntingtown VFD invited other fire companies in Calvert County to join them in training and burning of the house. As understandable, not everyone could attend, but many did. Other members that couldn’t made sure there was coverage at the Huntingtown Station and throughout the County. It starts with making sure the house is safe for training, which has to do with marking EXIT ROUTES for an emergency elevation and boarding up the windows to help control the situation when training. While some members were preparing the house, there were others setting up the water draft tanks and getting the attack and safety hose lines in place for the training. There is an emergency medical area set up with ambulance crew to treat anyone that may need it.
There is a rescue team that will always be available while another team is in the house doing training. This is just in case something should go wrong and that team is geared up and ready to go to help their fellow firefighters. As with this training, the same will apply with any actual fire operations….. SAFETY is priority.
Before any actual training starts within the house and with fire, the Chief in command and other officers discuss the plan that needs to be laid out and followed. After that is done, the Chief will explain the process to all the members and the team assignments. He explains any concerns in the house and then has everyone that plans to enter the house for fire training to walk through the house and the firefighters helping with the drill training will explain the layout and the location of emergency exits.
There is a safety board that is used to hold each firefighter’s PAT TAG, which is an identify tag that each firefighter has with him/her when working on any fire scene.
Now that everything has been covered, it is time to start the training which requires setting a fire in one of the rooms, getting it very hot and very smoky to give the firefighter the real life experience of an actual fire. This process is done over and over again as each team goes through the training and if everyone has done it, then it starts over again and keeps going until the house has reached a point to burn down and stop the training.
With multi fires being set over and over for 3 ½ hours of training, the house has reach a point that the fire is spreading through the attic and it is time to let the house burn now. They then get all the firefighters out of the house and prepare the surrounding areas for the burning down of the house with moving of equipment and personnel a safe distance back.
Most important at this time is that each group has a leader who is responsible to make sure all his team is together and safe and accounted for. The Chief Command Officer does a quick roll call to each team od apparatus assigned to the fire scene to confirm that they have accounted for all their members. This has to be done quickly, just in case there should be a missing member and some type of rescue is needed before the house gets out of control.
With everyone accounted for and safe, it’s all about the heat and the fire and what a beast it really is. You can feel the heat against you skin, clothing and even if wearing the protected gear that he