Today’s guest blogger is Fire Wife Jessica Jackson. What wonderful photos!! Thanks Jessica!
A live burn is something I have been looking forward to. After almost 6 years, I finally decided to stop hiding from my husband’s career and had the opportunity to go and witness some live burn training. My FF didn’t participate since he has all the required training hours for the year, but he thought it would be fun to go watch. He was my tour guide! A large two story house in South Georgia, had apparently been overtaken by termites, I’m not sure the procedures but I know the insurance company had all hazardous materials removed and it was approved to be used in fire training.
There were around 40 firefighters there. There were the officers, paid, volunteer and even two inmate firefighters. It was in the mid 80’s with that South Georgia humidity and they were all dressed in bunker gear and the extra equipment getting ready for their groups turn. They set rooms up with wood pallets in the corner, set them on fire and let each team come in and knock the fire down. They’d go in, knock it down, then back all the way out so that the nozzle man could rotate to the back, giving everyone a turn at the nozzle. I’m sure when they come out and dressed down to just the pants and undershirts, they were thankful for that nice breeze we had blowing. There were also fans stationed in an area for cool down. They all had red faces that along with their shirts were drenched in sweat. They were sucking down bottles of water, wiping their faces and searching for the few shady spots the yard had to offer.
From a side window I could see them making their attacks. They would drop to their knees at the door way of the room on fire and begin spraying. The fire would crawl the ceiling and sneak out of holes in the roof or walls. It moved like it had a mind of its own. It was like it was alive! It was so cool to see them in action, even if it was just training and “safe” for the most part. Once all groups had run an exercise downstairs and one upstairs, it was time to set fire to the entire house. They loaded all the left over pallets into the house and set them all on fire. They come walking out of the house with flames in the door way licking them as they passed through. It was surreal. It only took moments to become fully involved and it didn’t seem like very long before it was venting through the roof with flames reaching for the sky. The exterior walls were rolling with fire; it would pour out of the bottom windows and get sucked back into the top windows. It was hot. I was back roughly 50 yards and it was too hot to stay still. It was literally consuming itself. It looked like a volcano was erupting and lava was spewing from everywhere, only it was just flames. It was such an awesome thing to see, given it wasn’t really someone’s home on fire.
I thought on my way out that morning that it would scare me, make me panic more when my FF was working. I was wrong. He talked me through a lot of what they were doing. Explained why things are done certain ways. Told me how the smoke is a good signal as to if you’re doing a good job putting out the fire. He was pretty great at explaining things. I found a larger admiration and respect for them, seeing it firsthand. The physical aspects they have to endure with extra weight, bulky gear and the heat and then add the mental point of view, running towards something that is on fire and always possibly dangerous! Of course I knew it was a tough job, but seeing is believing and them men were playing hard so I know they work even harder. I know and trust that everyone on scene will do their part and keep my firefighter and other firefighters as safe as possible in all situations. I could not be any more proud to be a firefighter’s wife, I’m his biggest fan.
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