Training exercises are vital to surviving real-life fire situations
■ Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Editor
The Hemet Fire Department (HFD) conducted a “live fire” training for new firefighters on Aug. 26 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Many passersby stopped for a quick look to see what was going on at the northwest corner of Kirby Street and Fruitvale Avenue.
A statement was released on social media sites Friday evening, warning citizens of the training: “Live fire training is essential to the health and safety of your fire department and your community. You never know how a firefighter will react inside a burning building. The toxic smoke and fumes generated by modern building materials can distort even the most experienced firefighters. That’s why training in a safe and controlled live fire environment is essential for the safety of your firefighters and your community. Throughout the live fire training, you may notice smoke in the area, as well as large firefighting activities including fire engines and fire hoses along the street and firefighters. Do not be alarmed! This is a training exercise.”
In a communication from Fire Chief Scott Brown the night before the training, he apologized for the late notification, stating there were “critical priorities today in preparation for this event. This exercise has been in the planning stage for several months, our city attorney has helped us with regard to the many regulatory and liability issues. As of this afternoon we received an approval from the Air Quality Management District (AQMD), receiving authorization to proceed with the burn — most importantly our team canvassed the entire area surrounding the training location — (Kirby and Fruitvale) we have also posted on all social media sites.”
American Medical Response (AMR) was also on scene, which “provided a paramedic ambulance team to stand by for HFD’s training burn today to provide emergency medical care, medical assessments and first aid to the participants, should it be needed,” stated Jack Hansen, operations manager for AMR Central Riverside County.
“This is an ongoing donation of services to the city of Hemet that AMR has provided for over 20 years,” continued Hansen. “We are committed to supporting Hemet city personnel in these important and potentially hazardous operations, whether they are daily 911 responses or training as we are throughout Riverside County. I applaud Hemet Fire in providing this training opportunity for its firefighters.”