I really did try to get more footage from our live fire exercise than I finally ended up getting. The reason is quite simple: our first attack was into such a hot fire that the GoPro case melted enough to leave the start/stop button inoperable. And since I’m not one to take my phone with me into that amount of heat, I had no way of starting and stopping the recordings. So the only helmet cam footage is from when I went into the smoke during our first attack.
Trust me, although it goes dark as soon as we enter the building, it was hot and smoky for the next three minutes until we put out the fire and started venting. But the video is also a realistic version of what it really looks like when fire fighters enter a burning structure. The high visibility and pretty flames you see on TV and in movies are fiction.
P.S. You can see what my helmet and GoPro looked like after the first attack on Instagram. Although note that I’d already cleaned up the lens to make sure the case was still usable.
This has been a peculiar year as we’ve had the opportunity to have two live fire exercises followed by controlled burns of the buildings once we are done exercising. The house this time was a traditional post-war single family home that often has livable areas in the basement and top floor but they could be initially left unfinished.
We only used the ground floor during our exercise since the second floor was much too open to burn in a controlled fashion. The basement was left untouched due to safety concerns.
I also had a GoPro attached to my helmet, but our first attack (in which I was participating and not photographing) was so hot that my helmet and the GoPro housing took quite a bit of damage. The fact that it was so hot also meant that I got about five seconds of usable footage before the world went dark from smoke. If nothing else, that footage can serve as an excellent example of what the reality of entering a burning building is like when compared to what is seen in movies and TV.
Springs in a mattress after the fire has been put out. Although I have always known how dangerous most mattresses are in fires, watching a mattress burn from the time it was lit until it was engulfed in flames reminded me how dangerous they really are. A picture of the mattress in flames as well as other pictures from our live fire exercise coming tomorrow.
Finally got the video from our live fire exercise edited. A more detailed post on lessons learned etc. coming later on. Now back to watching the overtime of Germany vs Algeria…
Whenever we at the fire department get a chance to burn down a house that would otherwise be torn down, we jump at the opportunity. Burning a real building and exercising technique on how to move and put out structural fires is always better when the location real.
Admittedly, we held the exercise two months ago so these pictures have been a long time coming. This time I also had a GoPro attached to my helmet shooting video footage from inside the structure. Editing that will probably take another two months knowing me ;)
BTW, if there is any interest for any of these images as a wallpaper, give me a shout and I’ll see what I can do.