By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
New members of the North Attleborough and Mansfield Fire Departments experienced what it was like to enter a burning building in a live burn exercise.
The training was held at the Fall River Fire Academy on Monday, June 21. North Attleborough Fire Chief Christopher Coleman said it covered the basics for handling rescue and ventilation for a burning building. Everyone was fully suited up and carried the equipment they’d use for such an incident, including 15-minute oxygen tanks. The new firefighters also worked on simulated hostage rescues in the upper levels of the training structure.
“They will climb the ladder, go into the smoke-filled room,” he said. “They’ll do a search, they’ll look for the victim…. they’ll find the victim and they’ll bring them up and down to the ground.”
Coleman added that the training is a regular one for the departments. He hopes to build something similar in North Attleborough.
“They do evaluations every year, which keep your skills sharp,” said Coleman.
Town Manager Michael Borg, Town Councilors Kathleen Prescott and John Simmons, and State Rep. Adam Scanlon also participated in the training, donning the same fire gear. Simmons said it was extremely hot and very dark in the building.
“It’s so hot that it’s almost heavy. It weighs you down. We were just sitting in it,” said Simmons. “We weren’t actually working. Bringing hoses in, you know, trying to find people you just see how hot it gets. I can’t imagine being in that situation.”
Scanlon said it shows how hard the departments work to get used to being in an environment like that.
“I’ve always had an immense amount of respect for the job, and understand the need for proper equipment and proper training, funding to get that stuff done,” said Scanlon. “To the extent that I could be more impressed, yes, I was more impressed.”