Ashtabula County Medical Center has opened the doors of two of its vacant buildings to the Ashtabula Fire Department and Ashtabula Township Fire Department for training. The training sessions are focused on how to remain safe while searching for someone trapped by fire or smoke as well as breaching locked doors.
“These buildings are scheduled to be demolished to make additional parking available on the hospital campus,” said ACMC Healthcare System President and CEO Michael Habowski. “We are glad to make these facilities available for the training exercises. The men and women who serve our communities as fire fighters put their lives on the line every day for our safety. Giving them an opportunity to train in a realistic environment helps ensure they are safe, protected, and prepared when they encounter these types of situations at a real fire.”
The fire department began the week with smoke-training in a vacant residential building.
Ashtabula Fire Department Lieutenant John Paul, who led the smoke-training, said firefighters were using the V.E.I.S. (Vent, Enter, Isolate, Search) method of searching for victims. Firefighters first break a window to vent some of the smoke. They enter the room via the window, isolate the room from the rest of the home by closing interior doors (to keep heat and smoke from hindering the search), and then search for potential victims.
“We use this method when we have solid evidence there is someone in a specific room,” Paul said. “If someone tells us they know someone was in the room or if there is obvious evidence the room could be occupied, a two-person team will go in and search while the engine crews are preparing for the fire.”
Later in the week, ACMC’s former Patient Financial Services building will be the site for training as teams breach locked doors within the building.
“We are required to do this type of training for our certification,” Lt. Paul said. “We usually only get access to buildings like this once or twice a year. We are grateful ACMC made the buildings available so we could train safely under controlled conditions.”
Ashtabula Fire Department Engineer Rich Hoplight and Firefighter Antonio Feralo enter a second story window during smoke training at a building owned by Ashtabula County Medical Center.
Ashtabula Township Fire Department Firefighter Adam Parks is engulfed in smoke as he assists a fellow firefighter from outside the building during smoke training.
A thermal imager lets Ashtabula Township Fire Department Firefighter Adam Parks see inside a smoke-filled room during smoke training at a building owned by Ashtabula County Medical Center. Parks used the device to help guide a fellow firefighter who was searching the room.
Ashtabula Fire Department Firefighters Jake Wilms (left) and Antonio Feralo (right) talk with Captain Dennis Page during smoke training at a building owned by Ashtabula County Medical Center.