Training to keep firefighters alive | South King County Fire Training Consortium

This summer area firefighters are participating in specialized training that may keep them alive during a catastrophic emergency.

Each year approximately 100 firefighters die in the line of duty. The most common cause of on-duty firefighter deaths is heart attack. High levels of stress and exertion at emergency incidents are contributing factors.

To combat this sad statistic, over 500 firefighters from the South King County Fire Training Consortium are participating in training that will help them deal with certain rare situations that add tot he stress of firefighting.

Special props have been constructed by the consortium to help firefighters train for situations that do not happen often, but can be deadly when they do.

The training will help firefighters to: escape through narrow openings, avoid entanglement and the possibility of getting trapped by wires, locate emergency firefighter personal alert safety systems by sound, don and doff self-contained breathing apparatus in limited visibility and space situations, locate and rescue unconscious firefighters, help themselves out of entrapment situations.

The training begins with firefighters demonstrating basic escape techniques under the supervision of training officers in a lit room. Firefighters are then moved into blackout or limited visibility situations where they can practice the techniques that were just reviewed.

By practicing these rare situations firefighters can reduce their stress levels and, ultimately, their chance of death from either entrapment or from heart attack.

This training has been made possible, in part, due to the generosity of the R.D. Merrill Company and Legacy Partners Residential. These companies have provided the building — the former Burien City Hall — free of charge to the SKCFTC. The building is slated for demolition at a future date.


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