Mobile unit gives volunteers a glimpse of live fire training

By Pat Sunderland

On Thursday, firefighters cautiously carried their hoses into a smoke-filled live fire simulator transported to Delta by the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control. The mobile unit provides a safe training environment while simulating a realistic structure fire. The unit was made available to volunteers with the Delta Fire Department, as well as neighboring agencies over a three-day period.

Training division chief Jason Clark controlled the smoke and propane-fueled flames inside the trailer as the volunteers moved through the unit, pouring water on hot spots and communicating their moves with one another and with their chief. The 53-foot trailer is configured to accommodate above, below and grade level scenarios through the use of a hydraulically operated second story. Movable walls on the first floor accommodate multiple set-up configurations. A kitchen mock-up and living room furniture props add authenticity to the exercise. A choice of entry points and varied scenarios provide opportunities for firefighters to train on fire attack, size-up, incident command, hoseline and nozzle control.

It's a training opportunity that doesn't come along every day, and firefighters were thankful for the experience.

In the past, older homes have been made available for fire training. "We don't really get to do that much any more," said Delta station manager Shannon Crespin. "We can't burn those homes unless the asbestos has been removed, and that's an added cost for the homeowner. Having this resource from the state is really great for our guys."