Rural Metro hosts live fire training for first time in nearly five years

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – For the first time since 2018, new recruits with Rural Metro Fire Department took part in a Burn to Learn event on Saturday.

These teams of new firefighters worked together to extinguish multiple fires in a home donated to the agency.

The property owner said he was happy they were able to use it to get the rare hands-on training.

“We were looking at maybe tearing it down and hauling it off, and this just seemed like a better idea, where they can get some training out of it and we could get limited material to haul off, so it is a win-win,” said Property Owner, Cary Goddard.

Fire instructors said this type of training is invaluable. For many new recruits, it’s their first experience with a live structure fire in a controlled environment.

“I mean we can practice all the time with fake cold smoke in the stations and the training towers. But until they actually hear it, feel it, and smell it it’s a whole different thing and you can’t put a price on that type of training,” said Lt. Ben Nehf with Rural Metro Fire.

Nehf said recruits were learning specifically how to read smoke, how to assess the fire, and how to check for fire in the ceiling of a structure.

Other trainings were done weeks ago, like search training, and wall breaching, taking full advantage of the building before it burned to the ground.

“I’d rather go into it in training than be thrown right into the real thing, so I feel very fortunate to be involved in this training,” said Recruit, Brett Turnbull Rural Metro.

New recruits said some of their biggest takeaways from Saturday’s training was seeing how the fire behaves inside a burning building and water management.

Rural Metro thanks the property owners and Fields Home Center for making Saturday’s training possible.

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