Clark County firefighters undergoing ‘training evolution’

The Clark County Fire Department is taking new strides to train firefighters with “training evolution.”

In a fire simulation, Battalion Chief of Clark County Fire Department Greg Cassell directed fighterfighters in the handling of isolated “compartmental fires” in residential structures.

Trainees used a vacant home, assessing the site, preparing for entry and extinguishing the fire. Safety was the top priority.

Cassell stressed the importance of teamwork in dealing with fire calls. Groups of trainees work together in tactical assignments all day in order to practice their duties as firefighters in a controlled environment.

During training, fighterfighters “identify what’s going on in the building, radio that back to command and make the correct tactical assignments,” Cassell said.

The structures used for department rehearsal are few and far between, according to the fire chief.

“Being able to have an acquired structure that we can burn in a controlled manner is very rare for us in this department,” Cassell said.

That “acquired structure” comes in the form of a donated commercial building. Steffanie Dolar, a property owner who needed a building removed, contacted CCFD and they were happy to oblige.

“We bought the property a few years ago because we wanted to build over here. It was residential, we worked on getting it rezoned C2 (commercial), we did, and a customer came in and said ‘why don’t you have the fire department burn it down?’ And they said yeah, this definitely looks like something that has a lot of potential,” Dolar said. “We need it gone and you need training. It works perfectly.”

About 60 firefighters rotated throughout the training process, evaluating fires, checking for isolation and blowing fans throughout the structure in order to reduce temperatures and make the environment safer for potential occupants.

These tactics “make things much, much safer for everybody involved,” Cassell said.

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