Training for Vehicle and Dumpster Fires (JPR14)

Always starting out with a safety briefing and a plan
JPR 14 for Firefighter Advanced is all about vehicle fires and dumpster fires. Thanks to Ibex for lending us their hall and their chief for the Saturday.

Dumpster Fire
The Dumpster is on fire. What makes dumpster fires more difficult to attack is that you don’t know what is in the dumpster. You can pretty much count on toxic fumes, but is there anything that could go BOOM? SCBA and caution is required.

Arriving on scene.
Hootalinqua Tender arriving on scene. One of the hose couplings leaked. Had to open the tool case…

Pump ops in the cold…
At first the pump panel may look a bit intimidating, but really it’s not. Here the leave pulled (on the right) allows the water to circulate the water back from the pump to the tank. Water needs to keep moving or else, things will freeze up.

Pump ops GO!
Crosslay #2 (one of the hoses set up ready for quick attack above the panel is receiving water. Should be at 125psi. That is a lot to manage for a single firefighter.

Initial attack
Dumpster fires are potentially dangerous with almost always toxic fumes involved. Breathing apparatus (SCBA) is a requirement. The hose is charged to 125 psi. That needs a two person approach. The front person points, moves, and adjust the nozzle. The second firefighter carries the hose and fights the recoil.

Advancing the attack.
Firefighters slowly close in on the fire. Constant repositioning happens, adjusting the nozzle for fog or straight stream for cooling, fire suppression or sometimes to use the water stream as a pry bar..

Intense smoke is a factor.
Dumpster and vehicle fires often generate thick smoke, mostly consisting of toxic fumes. In cold weather steam adds considerably to decrease visibility.

The attack up close
The attack team has to work very closely to achieve the objectives

Hazards abound
Of course water and cold temperatures turn the scene into an ice rink and slips and falls are always a threat.

Frozen regulator
The SCBA’s regulator doesn’t like the cold, and after a while they freeze up and need some heat and TLC to thaw. Always have backup ready to step in!


Home away from home.
Fighting fire in the cold makes one really appreciate warm spaces to rest or to keep equipment safe and operational.

Getting ready for the first attack or our burning car

Attack team in position
The attack team is getting ready for the initial attack: about 50 ft from the the burning vehicle and at 50 ft from the truck, easy to measure if you use a triple lay.

Water is moving
Once the pump is going and the team is ready, the action commences.

Straight stream from a distance
At first the vehicle needs to be cooled down from a distance. The straight stream travels furthest.

Under pressure…
At 125 psi the hose requires the firefighters to lean into the action.

Safe approach angle
The struts actually explode and can turn into projectiles with immense momentum. Never approach from the front or the rear until the fire is out and the vehicle is cooled. down.

getting into the deep snow.
It is tough going into the deep snow. Wouldn’t be possible without team work.

Getting into the deep snow
Dragging the snow into the deep snow is hard but sometimes needed.

The watchful eye…
The trainers and evaluators at every point monitor safety and performance. They are responsible for ensuring firefighters are well trained when they get signed off.

Final stages
Flames are (mostly) out, the vehicle is cooled down and firefighters can approach.

Can openers
Now the priority is getting into the areas that previously could not be accessed, under the hood for example.

Mob up.
Once the fire is out, mob up is required to ensure the fire STAYS out. The fogstream shown has the benefit that it will get to most spaces.

The leftovers
Once we were done with the practice the car looked pretty bad. It is important for the firefighters to recognize though that once a vehicle catches fire it is a write-off anyway. Other than valuables inside, there is really nothing to be saved.

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