Fire departments join forces in practice burnPublished 3:30am Thursday, November 7, 2013
The Dadeville Volunteer Fire Department turned an old unwanted structure into a training site that fire department leaders hope will help lower insurance rate for the city’s residents.
Firefighters from Dadeville and from Jackson’s Gap took turns going into the house throughout the morning, practicing the proper ways to hook up to a water supply, lay their hose and, most importantly, attack the fire.
“Everything we did out there was good training, from beginning to finish,” Dadeville Fire Lt. Jeanna Brewer said. “It may have seemed like a madhouse, but everybody really enjoyed the training.”
Brewer acted as coordinator and safety officer over the controlled burn, while two professional firefighters who grew up in Dadeville’s department, Jeff Brewer and Scott Atkins, drilled the proper procedures into the newer firefighters’ heads. Jeff Brewer, who is married to Jeanna, is now training officer for the Alexander City Fire Department. Atkins serves in the same role for the Opelika Fire Department.
The home was an unwanted structure on the near the railroad crossing on Dudleyville Road. Brewer said there are a few other structures closer to town they’ve been asked to use in a similar training exercise, but they are too close to other structures to be used safely.
After lighting and extinguishing fires inside over and over, they lit the house around noon to “put her on the ground.” As the house burned away for good, the firefighters also worked to save a giant old oak tree that hung over the structure’s roof.
“I told them to pretend it was an adjoining house that they were trying to save,” Brewer said. “That made it a little more realistic.”
Jeanna Brewer said a goal of the training was to get some multi-department training with Jackson’s Gap Volunteer Fire Department. Dadeville has an “automatic aid” agreement with Jackson’s Gap firefighters.
When the annual ISO inspector comes around this month, one thing they’ll check is whether the two departments have trained together.
“Making sure we’re compliant is very important to the insurance rates of the people we serve,” Brewer said. “If we have a good score, their homeowner’s rate will stay the same or possibly go down.”
Interim Fire Chief Ralph Emerson, who monitored Saturday morning’s training session, said working with their fellow firefighters is always a valuable experience.
“It helps us to make sure our guys can work smoothly together,” he said. “And this makes sure our guys are ready for anything they might encounter when they go into a fire.”