Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Burn building experience
Tomorrow I will be in fire and rescue gear prepared to go into a burning old house and attack the fire and locate an 180-pound dummy somewhere in the building.
This is about the only thing I have not done as a journalist for 12 years—10 of which were spent with public safety reporting. I’ve been on ambulances, fire trucks, climbed ladders, broken windows and used a hose, but I have never been in a burning building with full equipment.
Today, I was fitted for the equipment and gear, which is pretty heavy stuff. I was also fitted for a mask and breathing gear with a tank that contains about 30 minutes of air. The instructors wanted me to run around and climb some stairs to get tired, which I did for about 10 minutes. When I stopped I felt a bit claustrophobic because it’s not like open-air breathing. I felt trapped inside the mask and it got me a little scared but it went away quickly. I figured after a few half dozen or so fire training exercises, that worry would disappear.
I felt comfortable with all the gear on and tomorrow morning is the big test. Wish me luck. The experience should prove valuable for me.