RIO GRANDE — Rio Grande Volunteer Fire Department hosted a state fire marshal fire behavior lab recently for flashover fire training with area volunteer departments.
The lab saw roughly 20 firefighters pass through the training. Rio Grande’s department, Centerville Fire Department, Springfield Township Fire Department and District Two (Guyan Township) Fire Department joined the event.
“It’s pretty challenging because it does get extremely hot in there,” said Rio Grande Fire Chief Tim Hemmerick. “They experience a flashover in a controlled setting but it still gets hot. For those who have never experienced it, it’s the best place to for the first time versus in a real fire. It used to be that when you went in your living room your furniture was all wood. Today, it’s a lot of synthetics and plastics. The smoke that comes off these materials are kind of like a ladder fuel. One type of smoke becomes ignitable in itself and that’s basically what happens. The fire over your head near the ceiling ignites and it rolls over you. That’s why it’s called a flashover.”
Hemmerick said OSP board was utilized in the fire lab. Once the board begins to burn it releases different gases that once hot enough could ignite.
“In the simulation, there are a series of vents that will be popped so that the flashover can be stopped and they have two hose lines in there fore safety reasons,” said Hemmerick. “It’s excellent for training.”
Firefighters receive a certification after the training.
“We set this up because a lot of our folks are new and we don’t get as many fires,” said Hemmerick. “I’d rather them experience it in a training session instead of a real fire. The other departments wanted to participate. There was some discussion that another department might set this thing up again in a few years so we can continue to cycle people through this type of training.”
The Rio Grande Fire Department also received a grant from the state fire marshal’s office for $10,000 and will be utilized for new gear that will soon be past its usage date.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.