Fire fighters conduct multi-night drills in abandoned homes

Crews conducting an injured fire fighter drill Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 (Will Feelright)

LOGAN — Local fire fighters came together last week in joint training operations on how to rescue one of their own during an emergency. The drills were conducted in several recently abandoned homes near Garff Wayside Gardens.

Fire fighters accessing the roof of abandoned home near 131 S. 100 E. in Logan, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 (Will Feelright)

Logan City Fire Marshal Craig Humphreys said the exercise gave crews the unique chance to experience several surprise challenges. Although the homes were cleared of furniture and belongings, fire fighters had not been inside them before. They also were not told in advance that one of them would become injured and require rescuing.

“Fire fighters entered the structure and covered the first floor, looking for victims and fire,” explained Humphreys. “They then made their way to the second floor, where we had simulated some fire with some artificial smoke. They searched through the smoke, found the fire and extinguished it. At that time, one of our main objectives with this drill was to have a fire fighter emergency and activate our Rapid Intervention Team.”

The training included fire fighters from Logan and the other surrounding departments in the valley from the Cache County Fire District. More than 120 fire fighters attended one of the three nights.

Humphreys said once the fire fighter was “tapped out” to simulate the emergency in an upstairs bedroom, the Rapid Intervention Team had to determine the injured’s location and the fastest way to get to them. The team used a ladder to climb onto the roof, entering through a window to reach the fire fighter and pulling them out.

“That was our goal and intention with this drill because in our valley all the fire departments need to come together. It takes so many of us to work a fire, especially a fire fighter rescue.

There was also a simulated dispatch center and command post set up nearby. It allowed dispatchers and radio operators see firsthand what happens at the scene of a fire.

Humphreys said that in addition to the emergency drill each night, they held five training sessions on a variety of topics and skills.

Logan City Fire Assistant Chief Doug Fullmer speaking to firefighters before Thursday’s drill, Sept. 24, 2020 (Will Feelright)

“We had one group that worked on ventilation, which is how to open up a roof of a structure to let out the heat and smoke, to allow fire fighters to go in. We had an incident command group that learned how incident commands operate. We had a group on rapid intervention. Then we had one that discussed communications, especially over the radio and how to communicate properly. Our last group worked on two and four minute drills, to get into the fire within that time-frame.”

Traffic along 100 E. between 100 S. and 200 S. was partially blocked each night for four hours to give crews plenty of space to conduct the drills. The property owner allowed fire fighters to use the homes before they demolish them for a future apartment complex.

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