Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Firefighters Refresh on Safety and Tactics for Wildfires

Warm and dry weather brings the threat of wildfire to Oregon. Hillsboro Firefighters took part in their annual wildland fire refresher course this week. The drill focused on Safety and Tactics. For firefighters accustomed to dealing with structure fires through a long rainy season, the refresher course was designed to ensure firefighter safety at all times. Much of the classroom sessions dealt with crew safety while a portion of the practical dealt with deploying their fire shelter. Real fire shelters are multi-layered with a foil-like exterior designed as a last stand should a wildfire overrun a fire crew's position. Often called a "shake and bake" due to the procedure, the shelters can save lives and must be deployed in 20 seconds. For practice, firefighters employ reuseable shelters rather than the one-time-use-only real shelters.

The second portion of the practical drill focused on tactics in fighting wildland fires in terrain found around Hillsboro. Firefighters used enlarged aerial photos and toy-like fire engines to "talk" through the tactics they would use in a wildland fire.

Firefighters have responded to several small bark dust and grass fires along major thoroughfares in Hillsboro recently. Most were caused by improper disposal of smoking materials. Hillsboro Fire and Rescue reminds you to use the ashtray, not the road way, for disposal of all smoking materials. For more fire and life safety information, visit www.ci.hillsboro.or.us/fire or call 503-681-6166.

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