Images: Training

Breathing apparatus training for a small group of firefighters

Intensified practice for technical problems

Exercises for mentally preparing BA wearers to respond calmly to emergencies

Instructing blindfolded firefighter

Instructing blindfolded firefighter

In many cases visibility inside buildings is very low. Therefore it is necessary to train carrying out routine tasks without having to look at equipment and colleagues. The exercise also helps improving orientation which is important to find the way back in case of an emergency.

Rescuing unconscious colleague

Rescuing unconscious colleague (by S. Salla)

As the firefighter’s own safety comes first, rescuing injured or unconscious colleagues is an important skill to be obtained. A firefighter wearing full gear can easily weigh 100 kgs. In this picture I served as a victim. Being dragged along is very relaxing while pulling a colleague away from the danger zone is hard work.

Instruction on dragging persons

Instruction on dragging persons (by S. Salla)

For dragging persons different techniques can be used. The instructor shows how to pull an injured firefighter downstairs. When dragging a colleague outside you are very aware of the distance still to go. Being pulled out of the building myself I quickly lost orientation being put on the ground several times and then dragged again.

Emerging from smoke chamber

Emerging from smoke chamber (by S. Salla)

Working in confined spaces is dangerous and mentally challenging. To withstand stress when being stuck or not immediately finding a way to escape is important for safe work. Inside a special box construction called smoke chamber these situations can be trained safely.

Taking off face mask

Taking off face mask (by S. Salla)

A 300 bar air cylinder can provide its wearer with air for up to 54 minutes. Finally taking off the face mask after exercise is always a relief. In this exercise I was stuck for three minutes at the very end of the smoke chamber route because I was unable to remove a fire hose serving as a guiding rope from the space between helmet and cylinder while trying to move forward.

The team

The team (by S. Salla)

Some firefighters had only worn BA once before this training unit. Most coped very well with the new situation, showing strength and resilience. After finishing the program on Friday they will be valuable members of the fire squad. I was not on the picture since I was heading to another appointment. Looking into my colleagues‘ faces I regret not sitting at their side.