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Live Fire training begins for Greenville Fire-Rescue cadets

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Pitt Community College’s Fire Academy 11 started the first day of the trainees’ live fire training by providing a lesson on flash-over indicators and prevention.

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By Seth Thomas Gulledge
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Greenville Fire-Rescue trainees experienced a live fire atmosphere for the first time on Wednesday as part of their training with the department. 

Pitt Community College’s Fire Academy 11 started the first day of its cadets’ live fire training by providing a lesson on flash-over indicators and prevention.

A flash over is a point in a fire when temperatures reach an ignition point for all objects and combustible gases in a home. It is the second leading cause of injury to first responders, according to officials. 

Lt. Jeremy Cleaton, academy coordinator and a member of the Greenville department, said that because of the risk that flash overs pose to firefighters, teaching the cadets to recognize the signs leading up to the event and effective strategies to combat it is critical in their training.

At the point of a flash over, Cleaton said, survivability is “next to nothing.”

For the class, cadets and trainers met at the Urban Search and Rescue Training Grounds off Mumford Road. A flash-over simulator — a retrofitted trailer that houses two compartments, one for firefighters and one for the the actual fire — was used for the training.

Cleaton said the advantage of the trailer is that firefighters are located lower than the fire in the second compartment, allowing trainers to create a flash-over point without endangering themselves or the cadets. 

“The benefits of this is that it’s a controlled environment,” he said. “We can control it and give them an idea of the signs to look for. Obviously we want to extinguish a fire before flash over, but if you can identify the signs inside a home or a structure before it gets to flash over, you can extinguish it quicker and save your life, your partner’s life, and the lives of residents in the home.” 

Academy 11 consists of 23 cadets, both men and women. They are going through a seven-month training course taught at the community college to learn the core foundations of fire and EMS operations. Cadets will graduate from the academy with the credentials of a certified firefighter and EMT-basic in July. 

Kendrick Melvin, one of the cadets, said the training on Wednesday was especially helpful because it gave the class real-life experience. 

“We covered it in the classroom, and we got to see a few videos and got to read literature on it,” he said. “But as they say there is nothing like doing it first-hand and the experience of the actual heat and seeing the visual of the effects of a flash over.”

Following the training, Melvin said the experience was valuable, but certainly not a breeze. 

“It was about what they preached,” he said. “they said it was going to get kind of warm, roughly around 1,100 degrees. You know, that’s exactly what it felt like — 1,100 degrees.” 

Contact Seth Gulledge at Sgulledge@reflector.com and 329-9579. Follow him on Twitter @GulledgeSeth

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