The first team of Elmwood fire fighters are ready to take up their hoses for the hands-on live fire propane scenarios. Photo by Paul J. Seeling
The first team of Elmwood fire fighters are ready to take up their hoses for the hands-on live fire propane scenarios. Photo by Paul J. Seeling

ELMWOOD, WI – On Thursday evening, October 5, the Elmwood Fire Department hosted a four-hour certified education emergency response, live propane fire training for approximately 50 area fire fighters including many members of their 32-member department. They were joined by firefighters from Spring Valley, Plum City, Durand and Ellsworth as well as CVTC entry-level fire fighter students. The Elmwood Fire Department did this in partnership with the Wisconsin Propane Education & Research Council (WiPERC).

The event began with everyone grabbing some pizza and soda and a seat in the Elmwood Fire Hall training area with rows of tables and chairs setup for the classroom portion of the training.

The training taught by Luke Van Noi, Certified Fire Instructor (CFI) of Green Bay, Wisconsin consisted of classroom instruction on the physical properties of propane than going out into the field for the hands-on portion that included five fire scenarios including a grill, forklift, bulk tank, and propane terminal piping props. Four of those five stations were live hands-on fire training scenarios. Noi was accompanied by four other certified assistants who helped light the props and work with the fire fighter teams.

First the firefighters reviewed the classroom materials and watched two videos, one of which included a home propane tank explosion that was quite eye opening to say the least.

In the field the firefighters gathered around a bulk tank truck as Instructor Noi pointed out the important aspects of the bulk tanker, where valuable information could be found and the location of the various values were in case the fire fighters should encounter one in an emergency situation.

Next the firefighters were divided into teams of fire hose teams of five each and presented with how to respond, approach, contain the fire and shut-off the values on each of the live fire scenarios.

In each of the scenarios the hose or hoses were to be aimed by the team or teams at moving the flame away from the shut-off value to allow for one of the fire fighters to reach in to the valve and to complete the shutoff of the propane. But they were to continue to apply the water even when the flame was extinguished until the fire fighters were safely back and out of the possible hazard zone.

The live fire exercises really lit up the night and were fascinating to watch as one could feel the intense heat generated even a safe distance from the flames.

One couldn’t help but respect these mostly volunteer men and women fire fighters who were giving of their time for this training and for the potential risk to their health and safety as they battle the flames to protect our lives and property in the real world.

Keep that in mind and thank them for all they do!