CLARKSVILLE — Inside the burn tower, the “smoke” was building up on the first story and Clinton-Warren Joint Fire District Chief Bob Wysong remarked the artificial smoke will try to fill every void up high before it will bank down toward the floor.
The smoke generator produces artificial smoke that helps create scenarios that, Wysong said, are “about as realistic as it gets without being real.”
The scene Tuesday, part of the set-up of new equipment acquired for the Fire Training Center here, reminded the chief of an actual fire about three weeks earlier. When firefighters arrived that day, the smoke had begun to bank down and they could see it keep banking down.
But fortunately, the firefighters did get there in time to see where the fire was, he said.
With the smoke machine, the density of smoke can be changed by dialing up or down.
Artificial smoke protects people when they are first learning to prepare for an environment of flames and smoke. Sometimes they can kind of panic, said Wysong, and they’ll want to take their smoke mask off. If they do remove the mask while in training and there’s a smoke machine, they won’t inhale actual smoke which can burn their eyes and lungs.
A newly acquired digital fire training panel that simulates all classes of fires, and that comes with a digital laser nozzle and weighted hose line, also was getting checked out. With the laser nozzle, the trainee can shoot at the panel and it’s “just like putting water on the fire,” said Wysong.
The digital panel can simulate various classes of fire visually, and have the flames accompanied by the noises that mark off different types of fires.
With a Class A fire — involving regular, ordinary combustibles and wood — you can hear popping and cracking. When it’s an electrical fire, you can hear “zz-zz.”
This is key to learn because when a firefighter hears the arcing and recognizes it as an electrical fire, he or she knows they have to cut power to the building to be effective.
Fires that start on a cooking stove sound a little different too when they get going, said Tony Travis of Phoenix Safety Outfitters. He was on-site to give instruction and answer questions about the new equipment.
A simulated emergency that uses the smoke machine and digital fire panel does not include the oppressive heat of a real fire, but it offers the chance to train and gain “muscle memory.” Muscle memory is the ability to repeat a particular muscular movement that’s acquired through practice and repetition.
Wysong said muscle memory is very important for firefighting.
Now the chief would like to obtain a laser extinguisher to teach youth and others how to use a fire extinguisher.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.