Firefighter/paramedic Ryan Frazier is crawling through a hallway when something snags the air supply pack on his back.
He tries to untangle the wires by feel without luck.
What does he do next?
The Anacortes Fire Department is training on firefighter mayday procedures in a new two-story training building made just for that purpose. The structure was built inside a warehouse at T Avenue and 30th Street. Bill Wooding donated the space for temporary use.
The department is using a National Fire Academy program modeled after how the military trains fighter pilots to eject, said Assistant Chief John Bird.
In a structure fire when something happens — like a firefighter gets stuck — there is resistance to call for help, he said. They often try to rescue themselves but can end up running out of air and getting into bigger trouble.
The training provides criteria for when to call mayday. Then firefighters can try to get themselves out as rescuers know of the situation and are on the way.
The department is practicing four mayday scenarios — a floor or roof collapsing underneath them, getting stuck, getting lost and having something, like a mattress, fall on them. Bird said they’re also practicing how to get at their radios and call for help when pinned in different positions.
Leaders want to train everyone in the department and invite other fire agencies to use the structure as well.
The building can also be used to practice rope and confined space rescue, using ladders and doing rescues from windows. It also provides a safe place to practice “bail outs,” Bird said. That’s when a firefighter is on the second floor and has to get out quickly by jumping head-first out the window onto a ladder.
During most of the scenarios firefighters put wax paper on the inside of their masks so they can see light and dark shadows but not make out anything clearly. It simulates a smoky environment.
The structure can be relocated if needed in the future, Bird said.
To see a video of parts of the training click here.
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