The firefighters spray foam on the vehicle within a minute of arriving at the fire hall, and had the flames knocked down with in a couple of minutes. (Ken Alexander photo- submitted)

Firefighters turn out for live practice dousing car on fire

Ken Alexander South Green Lake column

South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Peter McKie said there was an impressive turnout for a live fire practice – putting out a burning car – at the fire hall on June 12.

Noting all of the lesson plans were held outside, McKie said: “It allowed the fire department to have a larger group practice that attracted 22 firefighters who wore face masks and maintained proper social distancing throughout the practice.”

McKie added SGLVFD trainers, Dave Plenert and Del Westfall, took the firefighters through a typical car fire with multiple scenarios.

The first scenario was about stabilizing the vehicle to stop it from rolling while the firefighters were working on it. This was done by putting blocks on the wheels and by removing air from the tires. Next up was training on how to open the hood of the vehicle.

“There was the easy way by pulling the hood latch and the hard way by using a pry bar to open the hood,” the fire chief explained.

The next scenario was disconnecting the battery by either cutting or unbolting the cables, McKie said, “keeping in mind that if cables need to be reconnected. For example, to move the car seats for the comfort of a patient.”

Next, the firefighters learned how to remove the front windshield and rear window by taping the windows with duct tape and making duct tape handles to remove the broken glass, which was broken with the use of a punch or a reciprocating saw.

There were also discussions about alternative fuel used in today’s vehicles and how to handle them, McKie explained.

“We ended the practice with a full-blown car fire. Pumper 1 attacked the car fire with foam, while Pumper 2 protected the exposures making sure the fire didn’t progress into the bush or grasslands by wetting the area down with foam.”

McKie noted the live fire practice was very successful and there was a “good debrief session” at the end of the practice.

The practice lasted for six hours and the firefighters were provided a lunch.

McKie said calls were made prior to the practice to the Watch Lake-North Green Lake Fire Department and Kamloops Dispatch notifying them about the live fire practice and likelihood of smoke rising from the SGLVFD parking lot.


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