City firefighters practiced rescue civilians and each other during their last training of the quarter Wednesday, March 30.
Each of Bellingham Fire Department’s four shifts took turns dropping by a training facility on Britton Loop Road to “tie the bow” on the various skills they had been practicing since January, said Ryan Provencher, training division chief.
Ongoing training is essential to raise the bar for safety and update the crews’ skills as the building materials involved in fires have started to change, Provencher said.
“There are so many synthetics in houses now. Fires burn hotter, they burn faster, and there are nasty byproducts,” Provencher said. “It’s really changed how we fight fire.”
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The crews loaded up in their rigs and practiced two scenarios in the multi-story building Wednesday, rescuing a dummy in the first, and one of their own who was unexpectedly tapped to be a victim in the middle of the second.
The training building will soon be converted to a live burn structure, which will allow for training that involves real flames.