Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:
In North Chicago, the fire chief hopes to team up with the city to use homes slated for demolition for training exercises.
“Fires are not as common as in the past in the city of North Chicago, and although we have numerous opportunities to hone our skills as paramedics, the occasions for our members to receive an actual residence that is structurally sound, environmentally safe and tenable is rare,” said Fire Chief Dell Urban.
“Giving credit to the hard work of our fire marshal and fire prevention team, as well as public education, we have seen a decrease in fire calls; although our call volume is on a slight upward trend, the majority of our responses are medical in nature,” Urban said, noting in 2016 they had 2,833 calls for service.
Urban said the first of several training exercises was held last week, when 19 of the 34 personnel were able to train on a house at 1036 Park Ave. She said there are 20 homes on the city’s fast-track list for demolition, and there are four that do not have any environmental concerns that will be used for future training sessions. All personnel are state-certified paramedics and firefighters.
Firefighters will conduct training that focuses on the proper mounting, dismounting, and operating on and around fire apparatus; identifying the purpose and components of a size-up; demonstrating primary and secondary search techniques; deployment of the hose loads; identifying techniques of moving hose lines into position; demonstrating fire extinguishment of an upper level fire via a stairwell; and performing a risk/benefit analysis for victim survivability and firefighter risk in a fire building,
At the beginning of this year, North Chicago firefighters responded to a house fire that was heavily involved in smoke and flames when they arrived. They learned there was someone still inside a bathroom in the structure.
Firefighters searched the bathroom and couldn’t find the victim, but then found the person in a bedroom near a slightly opened window. They assessed the situation and decided to exit through the window, because going back the way they came in was blocked by fire. They were able to get the victim to safety.
“Our ability to get in the occupancy and essentially tear it apart — to see how it’s constructed, establish how a fire might affect it and then see how we would put out that fire — is invaluable,” Urban added. “Unlike the props we use, this space gives us a more realistic experience.”