FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 3, 2013 —
By Steve Marschke
Although the fake smoke machine wasn’t on hand Friday morning, the goal was still to make it “as real as possible” for firefighters training at a borrowed multi-residential unit on B Street, said Rebecca Ramirez, a Battalion Chief for the West Sacramento Fire Department.
Retired firefighter and landlord Ric Dorris lent the building out for the session.
Visiting to hone their techniques and “get on the same page” were crews from Davis, UC Davis, Woodland and Yolo’s Yocha Dehe tribe, along with West Sac. They’re often often called upon to back each other up and work together.
“It’s about sharing knowledge and best practices, said Ramirez.
Not too many years ago, fire departments could be dismayed to arrive on scene in a neighboring jurisdiction and find that their hoses weren’t compatible with the locals’. Or that they had different terminologies. A lot of those troubles have been solved. But not all.
“If someone says, I have a firefighter in trouble who entered the ‘alpha’ side, everybody needs to know what that is,” she explained.
A burning structure gets each side named, and “alpha” is often the front. Progressing around the building are its other walls — “beta,” “charlie” and so on.
At training sessions like this, firefighters also practice specific techniques — “the more ‘tools’ you have in your toolbox, the more likely you can solve a problem,” said Ramirez.
FALLEN FIREFIGHTER: West Sacramento Fire Department’s James Staley, acting as instructor (above) , explains how to lift a firefighter who has fallen through the floor into the basement.
“They get a ‘charged’ hose line in there and push it down through the floor,” explained Rebecca Ramirez, W.S.F.D. Battalion Chief. “They anchor one end. They attache a loop. The firefighter actually gets on it and straddles it, and climbs the end that is anchored.”
While the firefighter is climbing, his colleagues are lifting the other end of the hose to help.
You can see that part of the exercise — what’s going on below the hole in the floor — below.
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