28 May – 3 June ’11
My Lovely Man is the training officer for the Ashhurst Volunteer Fire Brigade. This week he needed some ‘victims’. Our kidlets volunteered.
Where there’s no smoke, there’s no fire
7pm, it’s dark outside. Dressed in warm clothes, camera packed, we wait at home for the call. SSO Loach phones that he’s ready, the kids and I jump in the car and head to the site of the ‘rescue’.
The scenario – the changing rooms at the Domain are on fire, filled with smoke.
The call goes in to the station, in short order the fire engine arrives and the fire men leap in to action. A witness (who also happens to be a photographer 🙂 ) explains in a rather vague fashion that some children, “three or four of them, about ‘this’ high” , might have been inside the building.
The first team dons BA (breathing apparatus), the visors of which, for the purpose of the excersise, have been covered. Now, when they enter the site they will be blind, as they would in the event that a building is filled with smoke.
In teams of two, the firemen feel their way around the corridors and rooms.
Once they locate a ‘victim’ they must work their way back out again, following the walls. One team member leads the way, the other carries the victim, and they must keep in constant physical and verbal contact.
Some of the ‘victims’ kept running back in, and had to be saved multiple times! But this of course meant that all the firies could practise their rescue techniques.
It was an interesting excersise to watch. And as I’ve thought about it afterwards, it occurs to me that there is much more to this training excersise than just practicing how to operate in zero visibility. It’s also about team building, about putting absolute faith and trust in the other guys to get you in and back out again safely.
Photographically speaking, documenting this training night was a challenge. Low light, constantly changing from out side to inside, flashing red lights, ghastly yellow walls.
Oh, and the kidlets had a blast. Even if they did sustain a few bruises. Better bruised than dead, I say.