“Lets’ Break Something!”
While teaching a recent Firefighter One program I heard one of my students say something that made me smile. “Let’s break something”. These words are spoken as a true firefighter would use them. Certainly, we don’t want to damage a person’s property and we are sad to see any loss for a member of the public. It is perfectly ok to admit we all enjoy the ability to utilize our skills to assist in the access and extinguishment of fires. Many people have done home remodeling and removed walls or at least portions of them.
The tools we have in the fire service would make this job much easier! Without access to an acquired structure this portion of the FF I program can be relatively boring. We built a simple wall prop and covered it with four-foot square sheets of drywall. It was amazing how much fun the participants had for under $100.
This takes a little time to set up but using scrap materials and damaged drywall from the lumber yard can save you some money. Have the participants discuss the hazards of breaching the wall first. These would be plumbing, gas, electrical, stairway openings, etc. Select a tool to use. This can be quite a variety. Sound for studs and then open the wall. This is a great time to have them practice restricted passage with the SCBA. There are many techniques you can use for this. Have fun with it!
Upon completion, the department should be able to….
• Identify the need to breach a wall.
• Identify why we would need to expose hidden fires.
• Discuss the hazards of breaching a wall.
• Demonstrate the use of breaching tools.
• Demonstrate a restricted passage evolution with the SCBA.
Scott Meinecke is a member of the Sheldon and Granger Volunteer Fire Departments, Director of Safety for the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, and field staff for the Fire Service Training Bureau. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org