Guatemala 2013 Blog Thirteen- Mid term report

Day three of training was all fire ground survival. It was just over an eleven hour day and the students would have kept going. We started the day in the classroom reviewing fire ground survival topics such as MAYDAY, evacuation, air management, safety size-up etc.

As all fire fighters they were again anxious to get to the hands on and FGS day is a tough one. Skills taught were upper floor emergency egress (ladder bails and hose slide), wire entanglement, scba low profile escapes, scba reduced profile escapes and window hang. They finished the day with a scba confidence maze.

The props that were built at no cost worked out great. The entanglement prop (that was finished by the local Bomberos) was rather aggressive in its design for a first time user. But it was conquered by the Bomberos and to finish the day, the Bombero who had lost his arm in the ambulance accident completed the prop successfully with a large round of cheers and applause. The support for this fire fighter throughout the program has been an example of a true brotherhood.

The ladder bails and hose slide were new techniques for them. Each Bombero tackled these skills with much gusto. They probably would have spent the day jumping out the second floor window but they had sights on the other skills.

The scba profile skill station was rather interesting as there were so many different body types. That did not stop any of them.

The confidence maze was the finale. It was a combination of all the skills they learned that day plus a couple of surprises set up as an obstacle course. To top it off when they tackled the course they could not see. Some had to black out their scba face pieces and some had to wear black goggles. As true firefighters an unknown Bombero put shoe polish on the outer edges of the goggles- so all wearers had black all over their faces and combined with the sweat made one very large eyebrow. What an experience! We made it optional as it was now almost five pm. and was very hot. The line up started, the cheering ramped up and off they went. One after another they passed around the available six steel cylinder scbas - some functional and some not- and they went aggressively into the obstacles. Each trying to be better than the one before. The cheering got louder and the smoke from the neighbours cooking fire got thicker in the humid and windless air. It kind of set the mood for survival.

Job well done! 

Job well done!