Report day 11: 17 januaryLong Beach, LA, California.
At 8:00 Jim pick's me up at Rodeway Inn. Today is going to be a busy day. We start the day with a drill in a high rise. The crew and Jim explain me the procedures about fighting a fire in a high-rise building. The most interesting is the 'fire control room'. This is a small room in the basement that gives the fire department acces to the controls of ventilation, sprinklers, elevator and other specific machines or devices.
After this we drive by the 911 call center. Jim has a meeting and I am able to take a look in the call center. Dispatcher Chris hands out a headset and so I am able to listen to the traffic for 20 minutes. An interesting experience.
After this we drive back to the Long Beach training facility. Here I am meeting Frank. Frank handles about 2000 calls a year and has been doing so for at least the last 25 years. I have been looking forward a long time to meet and work with Frank. Frank walks me through the theory of any kind of ventilation via a powerpoint presentation. After this we go out on the field where a full truck- and engine company is waiting to do any kind of drill related to ventilation.
We get into our bunker gear and find ourselves a breathing apparatus. Andy explains what we are going to do inside the training object and together with Andy I find a nice spot in the burning room. Within a few minutes after ignition we got a dense layer of smoke and flames rolling through the smoke. I tried to make a good movie with the helmet camera but both helmet and camera could not resist the temperatures. When the crew finds the seat of the fire a natural horizontal is started too. I enjoyed the exercise very much and a big thanks goes out to Andy, Frank and Jim for putting it together.
Asking me of ventilation works was never the question. I do believe it to be a helpful tool if used properly. What did amaze me is the both fast and safe way of creating an exhaust for the vertical ventilation. This is something we really need to look into back in Europe.
At the end of the day Frank and his crew: Matt, Al and Carsten take me back to station 11. The crew takes the time to explain me all about the famous 'tiller ladders'. This is a ladder truck with a secondary steering position in the back, that controls the rear wheels. It demands a good cooperation between the two drivers.
Besides me Samuel Lippke is also riding along. Samuel is a freelance photographer that rides along with station 11 for 24 hours. He made some beautiful pictures at the training facility. After editing he gave me a few and I have posted them below. Take a look at them, they are very much worth looking at!
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