Dave Pederson

Rescue Practice Trains for Worst-Case Scenarios

February 19, 2009 // 0 Comments

Donation of home allows firefighters to prepare by BETH ALTENA The loss of a Main Street home is the gain of a valuable resource in practice that local firefighters hope they will never need to use. Rockford City Council voted in January to accept a quit-claim deed for the unoccupied home at 138 North Main Street owned by Pederson Funeral Home. The home is currently deeded to the city and is being used by the Rockford Fire Department, other fire departments and local law enforcement agencies for valuable training. The temporary change of ownership is for liability reasons and the structure will be deeded back to the owner when demolition is scheduled. According to Rockford Fire Chief Mike Reus, the use of the property allows the department an opportunity for priceless training that could save a life. “The fire department is running in when everyone else is running out,” he stated. Firefighters, although trained in a vast variety of practices and skills, are traditionally the ones offering, rather than receiving assistance. “When one of us runs into trouble, it’s hard to ask for help,” Reus said. The first practice in the home took place on Wednesday, January 28 with a “Mayday” scenario to build skills in what to do when things go wrong. The firemen faced a variety of scenarios in the unheated, unlighted home. Working from three stations one at a time, they practiced procedure for collapse of a ceiling, becoming trapped in a room and becoming tangled in debris. In each case firefighters had to gauge how long to try to free themselves before calling for help. According to Reus, this is a vital distinction and one of the harder concepts to realize in a dangerous situation, Firefighters carry in Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) with 30 minutes of air. If a rescue worker becomes panicked and starts to breath heavily, the air is used much more quickly. “The clock starts ticking at the door before they go in,” Reus notes. If a disaster happens after 15 minutes in a structure, a rescue needs to start quickly in order to get the trapped or injured firefighter out before the last 15 minutes worth of air is gone. According to Reus, the techniques and […]