The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

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March 28, 2012

Practice

Crews combine during training exercise

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 — With the support of resources from fellow agencies, Albemarle Fire Department conducted a live training burn at a home on Concord Road in Albemarle Monday.

According to Albemarle Fire Chief Shawn Oke, the live burn was a training exercise with an emphasis on fire attack methods.

“We’re going to start with the outside and then move to the inside,” Oke said.

Assisting the fire department with the exercise were crews from the Air National Guard, the Stanly County State Medical Assistance Team (SMAT) and South Side Volunteer Fire Department.

South Side and Stanly County SMAT provided support services for Albemarle Fire Department and Air National Guard, who were conducting the exercise.

“We had a conglomerate of people here helping us with the exercise, and we appreciate their support,” Oke said.

He explained that the home, located at 143 Concord Road near the intersection with Lowder Street, was going to be torn down by the neighboring church, Main Street United Methodist Church.

“The church was going to tear the house down, but they decided to let us use it for a training burn before tearing it down,” Oke said.

Nearly 40 fire personnel were on hand to take part in the live burn with seven crews rotating through each exercise. The crews started gathering at approximately 9 a.m. March 26 and the live burn started at 10 a.m. Several fires were set during the training exercise to allow for each individual crew to rotate in order to have an opportunity to practice the fire attack skills.

“I feel the training went great. The experience these guys get from a live burn is unbeatable, and with the fewer and fewer fires we’re having, doing this kind of live burn training exercise helps these guys to hone their skills,” Oke said.

The exercise wrapped up at approximately 5 p.m. after crews let the house burn to its foundation. Oke explained that once the training portion of the day was completed, fire command accounted for all personnel and put resources in place to protect surrounding properties before igniting the house for the final time.

“When we were through with the exercise, we let the house go. There’s nothing left there now but the foundation and a few chimneys,” Oke said, adding that the result of the training benefited the church as well.

“Before they would have had a heavy expense with trying to tear the house down, but now they’ll just have the cost of removing the brick.”

Overall, Oke feels that the day went well for all those involved.

“It was a good opportunity for us to work together with the Air National Guard. There will be times that we’ll have to work with them on disasters and having this experience now goes a long way towards making that a good experience,” Oke said.

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