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Photos by Fritz Rethage  ·    Posted June 3, 2003

Live Fire Exercise
[Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department]
[Middletown Township Volunteer Fire Department Training Academy]

On Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. on June 1, 2003, the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department went "out of service" to conduct "live fire training" at the Middletown Township Volunteer Fire Department Training Academy.  The community was covered by the Wood-Ridge Fire Department, until the HHFD returned at 6:00 p.m.  About a third of the department participated and traveled to the Academy with Engine #1, Engine #2, Ladder Company, EMS #2 and the Chief's SUV.

Although this Academy has an extensive training campus, the HH Fire Department contracted to use their "smokehouse" which facilitates multiple companies working together under both light and heavy smoke and fire conditions. This day's training was focused on putting out fires, rather than search & rescue, venting roofs, or other types of training.

The Academy burns Class "A" materials to provide as close to realistic environment as possible to train firefighters for real-life, high temperature fires in smoke filled environments.  The concrete block "smokehouse" has two sections with a bi-level single family dwelling mockup on one side, and a split ranch single family dwelling on the other side -- both full basement, plus a garage with automobile.

During  a rainy day-long drill, trainers set several fires in rapid succession.  As soon as one fire was extinguished, another was set.  Occasionally, several fires were going at the same time.

Several senior firefighters got practice performing the "command" position.   At times, the trainers would take "off-line" firefighters into the burning structure so they could observe the activities unfold.

The training was so active, that the HHFD consumed its inventory of the compressed air used in the Scott Packs.  The Academy re-charged the air tanks so that the training could continue.

Trainers closely monitored each firefighter during each exercise, to insure personal safety, that correct procedures were executed, and that the training objectives were being met.

Probationary and junior department members in red helmets were not permitted in the burning building, but got lots of support experience by replacing firefighters Scott Air Packs on the fly, dragging hoses, getting tools, etc.    Junior members were only allowed to tour inside the structure when all fires were extinguished.

The Academy is certified by the NJ Division of Fire Safety, and provides comprehensive firematic training for firefighters in New Jersey.   Middletown Township Fire Department is the worlds largest volunteer fire department with 11 companies and about 600 volunteers.

Movies included in this story --
Arriving on the scene (1 meg)
Ready to enter the building (500k)
Starting the fire (250k)
Hose venting  (300k)

October 26, 2003 training at this facility:  [Group 1  - venting][Group 2 - smokehouse]

[Go to Group 2]

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Academy instructor getting a fire ready
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Once the flames raged -- the steel windows were closed to maximize the smoke and heat inside the structure.

Movie: Arriving on the scene (1 meg)

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Hooking up Engine #2 to the hydrant

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Ladders put into position

Hose crew getting ready to enter
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And when that fire was extinguished, there was a quick review...

... then another blaze was quickly generated and put out.
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Movie: Ready to enter the building (500k)

Equipment check while fireman getting ready for the next evolution
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[Go to Group 2]


October 26, 2003 training at this facility:  [Group 1  - venting][Group 2 - smokehouse]

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