On Sunday 18 August, Stanhope Fire Brigade conducted a training exercise and controlled structure burn in Hill Road, Stanhope.
Twelve members from Stanhope Fire Brigade, eight from Girgarre and two members from Echuca Fire Brigade took part in the exercise, where a house was set on fire and training was carried out.
The structure, a derelict empty house, was kindly donated by the couple who own the property. The house was no longer needed and instead of having it demolished they were happy to see CFA use it for educational purposes.
“It was an extremely controlled environment, so as we could use it to learn,” Captain of Stanhope Fire Brigade, Chris Dent said. “Everyone was so keen to be a part of the opportunity. We made the exercise as practical as possible and had lots of younger members get involved – which was great for the development of their situational awareness.”
Prior to the burn, members of Stanhope Fire Brigade spent countless hours preparing for the exercise. The whole process took about 18 months, from requesting application to exercise, working tirelessly to ensure the process was done properly.
The house took around 13 minutes from initial lighting, until structural collapse of the roof, a timely reminder to everyone of how important smoke detectors are in homes.
“The main focus of the day was to show people how quickly a fire can develop,” Chris said.
As some members are taking part in their structural firefighting courses at the moment, this exercise was used as a way to develop some of the skills they’ll be doing on the course. Members also had the ability to conduct skills maintenance on the new breathing apparatus (BA), which have been used since December 2018 around Victoria.
Echuca Fire Brigade members used their new support vehicle, and were on scene to assist with BA cylinders, a BA control point and act as an incident control point.
Some of the areas focused on during the exercise were identifying fuel and ventilation fires, forcible entry, identifying how and when a flashover can occur, using thermal imaging cameras and gas cooling techniques.
“Forcible entry was a big focus as it’s something we don’t get many opportunities to practise,” Chris said. “Our volunteers were able to have a go, practice their techniques and all benefited from the training.”