Apparatus Driving

Our department trains frequently and each year we get to have a refresher on driving the firetrucks and ambulances through several obstacles. We use traffic cones to setup courses, and with each exercise the goal is to not contact or knock over any of the cones. By setting up this course, we are simulating circumstances such as:

  • Tight turns – use figure 8’s to provide experience in turning the vehicles between obstacles in forward and reverse
  • Narrow road – driving forward in a narrowing ‘roadway’ and stop close as possible to the last cone
  • Hairpin turn in reverse – simulates backing into a narrow driveway from a narrow roadway



Low-visibility Rescue Ops

Visibility is generally poor when rescuing victims trapped in a burning structure. This exercise is to provide practice searching rooms in the dark to find and rescue victims without the use of lights.

Although these photos were taken with the assistance of some helmet lighting!


20140714_195631  20140714_195730

Inside the Burning House

In the previous thread, we shared pictures from the outside of the house. Here are some inside pictures taken during various training sessions. Pay attention to the fire on the ceiling, there are some examples of rollover (ignition of combustible gases when temperatures exceed 1,000 degrees F); you can see how it could become dangerous to firefighters on the inside of the structure.

Remember to keep your smoke AND carbon monoxide detectors in working order and practice your fire evacuation plan with your entire family. The carbon monoxide will end your life before you get a chance to see a fire like this in your home.

This is a pile of pallets burning in one of the rooms. Notice how poor visibility becomes with the entrapment of smoke within the structure.



Because of low visibility, firefighters use the attack line hose as a guide to navigate through the rooms. Staying low to the floor also helps improve the chance of seeing anything, plus it reduces risk of getting immersed in flashover, pulse helps by staying out of the intense heat.



Here is the beginning of rollover. The heat at the ceiling has reached the ignition point of the combustible gases.



It is clearly evident rollover is occurring, and this is the point the firefighter running the nozzle is instructed to spray the ceiling. Doing so will cool the combustion at the ceiling, thereby managing the rollover event.



This was one of the last exercises before allowing the living room fire to take over.




Burning Down the House

On Saturday November 23rd, 2013 volunteers from Asbury, Farley, and Epworth Fire Departments joined the Centralia-Peosta FD for live fire training in a 5-bedroom / 2-story home located on Old Highway Road. The four jurisdictions teamed up to demonstrate interoperability on the fireground. Asbury provided their 2,500 gallon tanker and Farley brought in the air tank refilling trailer for the firefighter Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).

Special thanks to Rick Block of CPFD for the countless planning hours to make this safely happen and to Lead Instructor Lt. Jeff Sanderfield of the Dubuque Fire Department and his helper Brian McAuliffe of the Epworth Fire Department for providing the training. Jeff’s experience and superb instructional skills provided us all a realistic application of how a fire can evolve into a rollover (the stage of a structure fire when the hot combustible gases in a closed room can ignite).


Here is an illustration of what took place on Saturday:

9:30 AM: The fireground is established – all equipment setup and personnel accounted for prior to starting the first burn.

IMG_9235 IMG_9232IMG_9239

Two smaller rooms were used for demonstrating rollover. Wood pallets and hay were used for fueling the training fires. Extra pallets were kept outside of the rooms to refuel the fire, allowing  multiple attack teams to reuse the rooms several times through the morning.



10:00 AM: The pallets and hay in the first room are lit for the training. The first attack team goes into the structure, with the backup team at near the front door. Each team rotated throughout the course of the exercise.


The smoke emissions increased throughout the training. This picture is was taken after the second room was ignited:


For the next 1.5 hrs, multiple teams cycled through studying rollover in the two upstairs bedrooms and the main family room downstairs. The bedrooms upstairs were fully extinguished prior to moving the training downstairs.

12:15 PM: All teams evacuated the structure to allow the fire to build in the living room. High heat caused the large front window to breach, allowing the northwest wind to enter the structure and accelerate the fire. Within minutes, the fire consumed the entire room and two adjoining rooms.

12:18 PM: Fire exiting east side of structure:


12:20 PM: The source of the fire is clearly represented in the living room (behind the large window):


Here you can see clearly that all ceiling tiles are missing and the upstairs floor joists are completely engulfed by fire.


12:36 PM: the entire house from basement through attic was fully consumed. This picture was taken 21 minutes after permitting the living room fire to take over.


12:42 PM: The structural integrity yielded with the loss of the second story floor joists and trusses in the attic, resulting in the cave-in of the northeast corner.


12:46 PM: Four minutes later, the majority of the structure collapsed into the basement.


12:52 PM: The southeast corner is still standing 37 minutes after the living room burn.


1:04 PM: A large pile of burning rubble in the basement is all that remains.


Thank you to the landowner for the use of this house and to all that participated in the safe execution of this training exercise.


Want to learn more? See what it was like inside the house during training.