WESTFIELD - The Fire Department of Westfield has been fortunate to use a couple of houses in the Westfield area for live fire training.
The homeowners temporarily donated the buildings to the department since they were scheduled to be torn down. Homeowner Larry Green had his house severely damaged by last year's tornado, and homeowner Tom Issler is planning to rebuild a new house on the same property.
Each building was used more than once for different types of training, such as search and rescue operations with live fire, S.C.B.A. use, roof and ladder operations for venting, water supply, pump operations, safety practices, command and communication operations, firefighter rehabilitation and fire suppression tactics.
The Westfield Volunteer Fire Department held trainings at a local house donated for such purposes.
Every fire department drills, or practices, with its members to keep up with the ever-changing operations in the field of fire science. For example, the technology for cars is constantly changing with hybrids and ethanol fuel, and these pose new threats when dealing with an accident or vehicle fire. Health hazards for the firefighters and EMS personnel are a constant challenge also. Meth labs and their debris have made it a dangerous business to be in, as well as the chemicals emitted during fires from everyday items like furniture.
Training is one of the firefighter's best defenses against injury, but not all of it is done on the fire ground. Classes are provided by the Chautauqua County Emergency Services Office and the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control for various types of incidences. State Fire Instructors conduct training for every type of incident firefighters may become involved in or may need for their operations. Some of these classes include courses for the beginning firefighter, emergency vehicle operations, pump operator, ladder operations, water supply, firefighter survival techniques, scene support, structural collapse, confined space awareness, fire police, officer training, hazardous materials response and more. A lot of time is required of these volunteers to meet the standards set by the State, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Fire Protection Association.