Regional firefighters enhance skills

Specialised structural firefighting training for regional MFS firefighters

August 2017

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Regional Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) firefighters across the state are fine tuning their structural firefighting skills following the development of a new mobile training scenario.

Instructors from the MFS in Adelaide are delivering the live fire training to up to 260 retained firefighters from all 16 regional MFS stations.

A new $66,000 firefighting training prop is being transported around the state for the training.

Comprised of two specially modified shipping containers, it provides a live building fire scenario, allowing firefighters to:

  • Witness live fire development and behaviour within a room
  • Practise techniques to safely enter a burning room
  • Recognise fire behaviour and the potential for changing conditions
  • React to fire behaviour, including practising how to retreat safely when necessary.

Retained MFS firefighters who’ve recently undertaken the training say that the live fire component is assisting the way they battle house, business and other structure fires.

All regional MFS stations are due to receive the training by April 2018.

The benefits of live fire training

MFS Chief Officer, Greg Crossman said Retained MFS firefighters protect the lives, homes, assets, infrastructure and economies of 16 major regional centres across South Australia.

“The structural firefighting training our regional firefighters are undertaking provides a vital opportunity to observe and react to a building fire in a controlled environment.”

“This will enhance our firefighters’ structural firefighting skills, to the benefit of community and firefighter safety,” MFS Chief Officer Crossman said.  

Recognising and responding to fire behaviour

MFS Commander of Learning and Development, Duncan Cochrane, said the training will assist crews with recognising and responding to fire behaviour, enabling more efficient firefighting operations.

“The flow on effects include not only enhanced firefighter safety, but enhanced protection of local lives, homes, businesses, infrastructure and the economy.”

“Regional crews that have completed the training have indicated the new mobile structural firefighting prop has been an important tool for them to put theory into practise – and is influencing how they respond to house, business and other structure fires,” Commander Cochrane said.

Positive feedback from regional firefighters

Regional MFS firefighters are providing feedback indicating the training is enhancing their response to home, business and other structure fires.

MFS Station Officer, Mark Ewens said Victor Harbor MFS was fortunate to have completed the structural firefighting course about two weeks before local crews responded to a house fire at Encounter Bay.

“During our training, we’d witnessed the stages of a fire’s development inside the structural firefighting prop and actively responded to the fire.”

“When responding to the Encounter Bay house fire, we were able to put our training into practise by entering the burning home safely, recognising the fire’s behaviour and limiting fire damage. In a positive outcome for the owners, we were able to save their home and contain the fire to one bedroom,” Retained Station Officer Ewens said.

The MFS has 16 regional fire stations located at Wallaroo, Moonta, Kadina, Tanunda, Kapunda, Murray Bridge, Victor Harbor, Mount Gambier, Berri, Renmark, Loxton, Peterborough, Pt Pirie, Pt Augusta, Whyalla and Pt Lincoln.