Fire train­ing burns down the house

The Timaru Herald - - News - Matthew Lit­tle­wood matthew.lit­tle­[email protected]

It’s a highly struc­tured ac­tiv­ity, it’s as re­al­is­tic as you can get.

Mark Sol­lis

A do­nated derelict Te­muka house was razed to the ground in a spec­tac­u­lar ma­jor train­ing ex­er­cise on Satur­day.

The ex­er­cise, which in­volved 35 Fire and Emer­gency New Zealand (Fenz) mem­bers, and seven train­ers, took about six hours to com­plete with 23 ur­ban crew and 12 ru­ral crew mem­bers in­volved.

The ur­ban mem­bers – Mt Cook, Twizel, Te­muka, Tekapo and St An­drews bri­gades – en­tered the build­ing in groups of four, while the ru­ral crew, which were largely from Hinds and Wil­lowby (in Mid Can­ter­bury) learned how to ‘‘ex­ter­nally at­tack’’ the fire.

Re­gional Train­ing Of­fi­cer Mark Sol­lis said it was a good way for fire crew mem­bers to hone their skills.

‘‘It was a good ex­am­ple of an old South Can­ter­bury house.

‘‘Safety is ab­so­lutely para­mount, and this ex­er­cise tests out all the crew mem­bers’ skills.’’

Sol­lis said the house in Te­muka, do­nated to Fenz by the owner for the train­ing ex­er­cise, was fur­nished in or­der to sim­u­late what would hap­pen in the event of a ma­jor fire.

‘‘It’s a highly struc­tured ac­tiv­ity, it’s as re­al­is­tic as you can get.

‘‘It’s quite an im­pres­sive sight as you could imag­ine.’’

Sol­lis said the ru­ral crews did not tra­di­tion­ally carry the breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus for en­ter­ing a house fire, so their role in the ex­er­cise was to treat the build­ing from the out­side.

‘‘The big­gest suc­cess of the day is the turnout of peo­ple. It’s the most in­volved ex­er­cise we do, and it gives them a whole range of tools.’’

Sol­lis said such an ex­er­cise can take up to three months to pre­pare.

‘‘There’s a lot of pa­per­work to go through, and you have to pick the right property for the job,’’ he said.

‘‘We can do up to three or so of these train­ing ses­sions in a year, it re­ally de­pends on the avail­abil­ity of the houses. This one in Te­muka was ideal as it didn’t have many close to it.’’

PHO­TOS: JOHN BISSET/STUFF

The Te­muka build­ing was do­nated by its owner for the pur­poses of the train­ing ex­er­cise.

Crews from all over the South Can­ter­bury re­gion par­tic­i­pated in a train­ing ex­er­cise in Te­muka.

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