Visitors to the Hinesville Fire Department won’t find firefighters sitting around idly waiting for a call. Instead, firefighters spend a majority of their time training and preparing for calls to save property and lives. Hinesville firefighters recently conducted ventilation-training exercises, one of the many types of drills the firefighters must complete.
“Ventilation training is conducted to hone the skills that are needed to effectively and efficiently clear a building of heat, smoke and toxic gases to make a safer environment for not only the firefighters inside, but the occupants as well,” said Capt. Kris Johanson, HFD training officer and public information officer.
Through the ventilation-training exercise, firefighters must evaluate the proper location to perform ventilation, conduct equipment checks, correctly raise and place ladders, get on the roof, cut a hole with a chainsaw, pull the panel that is cut, open the ceiling below the hole, get off the roof and retrieve all equipment — all while conducting proper radio transmissions.
This tactic would be performed at structure fires where there is a large volume of smoke, heat and toxic gases inside of a structure.
Johanson said structures are ventilated to prevent a backdraft or smoke explosion, clear smoke to allow a safe escape for occupants and to provide a smoke-free area in a building for occupants until the firefighters can get them out.
The Hinesville Fire Department ensures that all firefighters thoroughly are trained in numerous areas to keep the community safe.
The department conducts other types of training as well, including vehicle extrication and rescue, firefighting strategies and tactics, survival, instructor, rescue and medical training.
The department currently is working on the Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate program, which will increase the number of medical services offered to the community. All of these trainings ensure that the firefighters are ready to respond to calls at any time.
Firefighters are required to train for a set number of hours based on their rank, according to the Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training and the Insurance Services Office.
A lieutenant and below must train a total of 240 hours annually, and an officer such as a captain or above must train at least 40 hours annually.
For information on training or public safety, call the Hinesville Fire Department at 876-4865.