Firefighters respond to many types of emergencies, each with different circumstances that require specialized skills and abilities to control the situation and limit the threat to life, property and the environment. Emergency responders are responsible for assessing the worst case scenario and already knowing the correct actions to take in a timely and effective manner. Some incidents are small in nature and are quickly resolved. Other responses are complex and lengthy such as: high angle technical rescues, hazardous materials, structure fires, wildland fires, motor vehicle crashes, cardiac arrest, shock, and trauma injuries to name a few.
Firefighters are like any other team. Teams practice to learn and enhance skills to ensure a plan goes smoothly. Everyone on the team must execute his or her function correctly and in a timely manner in order for the team to successfully handle the emergency. New products and innovations in technology demand that the fire service constantly upgrade and train to keep our team prepared for your emergency.
Firefighters train every day. This summer CKFR hosted a two day class called "Vehicle Rescue in the New Millennium". Firefighters from CKFR and around Western Washington learned about new vehicle designs and vehicle materials and how these new technologies impact rescue efforts. Crews reviewed safety procedures for working around hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles as well as the implications of side curtain airbags for extrications and vehicle rescues. The hands-on training provided invaluable opportunities for firefighters to practice new procedures and to learn ways to overcome the new challenges emergency responders face with today's high-tech vehicles.
In July residents of the Vintage, a senior housing complex, and firefighters participated in a simulated fire response. Statistics show that people between 65 74 years are twice as likely to die in a fire as compared to the rest of the U.S. population. The risk doubles for people over 75 years. That's why the drill at the Vintage emphasized the importance of everyone safely and quickly evacuating the facilities. Residents exited the building with alarms sounding as fire engines and medic units arrived, fire crews laid hose lines, located and extinguished the simulated fire. Firefighters and residents experienced some of the challenges involved in the evacuation of such a large, multifamily structure. Residents learned how to select an escape route to their designated outdoor meeting place amidst the confusion of loud alarms, closed fire doors and meandering halls. Firefighters know that with planning and practice, older people can dramatically reduce the risk of death and injury from a fire.
Recently CKFR partnered with its insurance agency, Canfield & Associates, to bring in a Driver's Training Simulator to enhance firefighter driving skills. The simulator creates various driving conditions that emergency responders may encounter enroute to a 911 call. Using examples of hazardous driving situations the simulator provides firefighters an opportunity to improve driving skills without the risk of injury to self or others. The simulator is able to recreate a scenario that could have had a better outcome and allows firefighters a chance to discuss alternative options and then try their hand at practicing alternatives to their initial response.
Just last week, CKFR played a role in a countywide, earthquake drill involving mass causalities and structural challenges at eleven sites throughout Kitsap. Throughout the county, forty-one different agencies participated in the drill to simulate a realistic and plausible earthquake catastrophe designed to evaluate emergency response capabilities and procedures. CKFR crews responded to Olympic High School to a mock hazardous materials spill. The drill highlighted strengths and identified procedural improvement opportunities.
CKFR firefighters completed the drill at Olympic High School feeling confident about the ability to work effectively and collaboratively with local agencies, including Central Kitsap School District, the Kitsap Department of Emergency Management, Harrison Medical Center, and Washington State Patrol and the State Fire Marshal's Office in the event of a major natural disaster or hazmat incident. Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue continues to place training as a top priority in its day-to-day operations. Anytime. Anywhere. We are there!