The Edmond Sun

November 19, 2012

Edmond firefighters prep for structure fire calls

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — A vacant downtown area building that used to house a hospital provided the setting for a firefighter training scenario involving smoke and a victim.

If you were doing some daytime driving during the past few days near a building across the street from Stephenson Park you might have seen a number of Edmond Fire Department vehicles there and wondered what was happening.

Courtesy of the University of Central Oklahoma, the property owner, the Fire Department was using the building that housed the Parkside Osteopathic Clinic and Hospital, 101 E. Fourth St., for the exercise.

Edmond Chief Training Officer Jon Neely said the agency has an excellent training facility but all the buildings are mostly the same. Thanks to UCO, being able to come into a building with a completely different layout really challenges them, Neely said.

UCO spokeswoman Adrienne Nobles said as a metropolitan university, UCO welcomes opportunities to serve as a resource that strengthens the community.

“The Edmond Fire Department’s recent training exercise is just one example of that commitment,” Nobles said. “We’re fortunate to enjoy a positive partnership with the city and look forward to finding more ways we can advance together.”

Neely said the Fire Department’s training scenario involved a couple of vagrants who got into the structure, spent the night and lit something on fire to keep warm. One escaped and called in the incident, so when personnel arrived they knew they had a known victim in the interior.

“So you’re first crews are going to go into rescue mode,” Neely said.

In a structure like this, firefighters can have trouble pulling line. So in this scenario, one of them got off the line, became disoriented and fell down a dumbwaiter shaft into the basement. He called over the radio for help. Due to the distress call, crews established a rapid intervention team.

Administrators also were evaluating the incident command system, the commander on scene, the abilities of the personnel to search and find the victim and communication, Neely said.

Each team is assigned one evaluator who stays with the personnel during the drill, Neely said. After they complete it, the evaluator meets briefly with the team and goes over what they did right and what needs improvement.

In a couple of weeks, administrators will meet with entire shifts and talk about positives and negatives, how they can improve as a team and as an entire shift, Neely said. | 341-2121, ext. 108