“It is our philosophy that contact learning delivered by competent facilitators to learners is one of the most effective ways of delivering training.”
Fire, Rescue, Hazmat and First Aid training relies heavily on knowledge and skills competencies taught by transferring skills, conducting realistic simulations, role play, and of course workplace experience.
Today learners are presented with a simulated gas off-loading incident in which an accident has caused a gas leak that has subsequently ignited. Learners have been taught to set up their hose lines and use the “attack group” approach to successfully deal with this incident. Success lies in donning the correct PPE including SCBA, establishing reliable water supplies, laying out hose in an orderly fashion, adapting the attack direction according to the wind and the exposures at risk and bending the flames away with the correct water spray patterns so as to close the gas supply valve.
In this case the exposure is a bulk LP Gas cylinder which is at risk of BLEVE, and the simulated pressure relief valve has already opened and issues a dire warning that a BLEVE is imminent if something is not done now!
BLEVE is an acronym for Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapour Explosion, but at this point all that learners know is that it is violent explosion which must be prevented at all costs by quickly cooling down the exposed bulk gas cylinder. All the knowledge components with respect to strategy and tactics have been taught, and all that remains is for them to be executed. Despite the risk assessment, safety briefing and heavy PPE, anxious expressions on the learners faces tell you that they realise the time has come to do what they have been taught.
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Now is the time for everyone to work as a team and combine their individual skills such as controlling their water streams so that the attack group can reach its objective.
Everyone gets the opportunity to couple up and run out their hose lines from hydrants and advance towards the fire in the approach phase leading to a contact phase where they are centimetres from the roaring fire. Whether taking up the duties of “nozzle man” (or woman), back-up person or kinker, all learners will get the feeling of dragging the heavy hose and experience the jet reaction from the nozzle pushing them backwards while their back-ups urge them forward.
As they advance, learners experience the ever increasing heat and remember what the instructor told them about how their spray pattern will protect them against the fire, even though it is as thin as a sheet of paper.
Team leaders will feel the adrenalin surge as they lead their teams closer to the roaring flames and prepare themselves for the instruction to isolate the valve, closely watched by the instructor and safety officer.
These fire fighters come to the realization that none of these experiences can be gained from the pages of a book or a video. This is the value of realistic simulation in fire fighter training and they will never forget what they have learned here.
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