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Firefighters attend sought

Sep 25, 2023

Staff Writer

This week, crews with the Grass Valley Fire Department (GVFD), Nevada County Consolidated Fire District, and Ophir Hill Fire Protection District — among others — have been gearing up for a special training at the Sierra College Nevada County Campus fire training facility behind Station No.2 in Grass Valley.

According to Chris Armstrong, Battalion Chief with Grass Valley Fire, the training class is sought-after by many fire departments and attracted agencies from as far away as Fresno City Fire Protection, Cal Fire Tulare, Cal Fire Madera-Mariposa, Placer Hills Fire Protection District, and Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District.

The class, called, the Art of Stretching, Flowing and Moving, is what brought the various agencies in and required new props built on location to simulate hallways, apartment staircases, slanted rooftops, homes and commercial buildings.

"This is all to simulate what a structure fire would be," Armstrong said.

The Art of Stretching Flowing and Moving is a course that is in high demand and at Wednesday's training well-known instructors such as Rick Archuleta from Clovis Fire Department and Captain JD Flint from Sacramento Fire focused on advancing basic training skills.

"He's teaching them how to pull and move and how to flow while moving up and down stairs," Armstrong said. "In basic fire academy there's a lot of flow and stop, put water on and stop. What we are really trying to transition to is a flow and move. We talk about how to pose to resist the reaction when the water is pushing back on the firefighter."

Water flows out the hose at 50 pounds per square inch (PSI) which is about 80 pounds of pressure coming back on them, according to Armstrong.

Different hoses such as one particular type that is lighter than most and can inflate are introduced and estimating the stretch, or length of the hose needed, according to Armstrong.

Skills such as sizing up the estimated length of hose needed to reach the structure and what nozzle is best applied to extinguish the fire are part of the class.

"They learn how to operate the nozzle, learning how to flow it properly, and it all has an impact on the survivability of that building while it's on fire," Armstrong said.

One new prop added to the training grounds was a 16 foot long simulated hallway with a corner built in at eight feet.

"It's a 16 foot hallway. It has a left foot turn. Here they are using techniques to see how the air movement from the nozzle is impacted inside that hallway," Armstrong said.

"They have to know how to get water around the corner without having to put themselves all the way around the corner. They use a bounce technique."

Ryan Tantum, a graduate from Bear River High School and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas participated in the training as a member of the GVFD.

"My favorite is the ventilation prop. I was here when we did the flashover chamber. I know a bunch of guys who utilized the burn props. The facilities are awesome," Tantum said.

The flashover simulator is designed, fabricated and built from a steel shipping container and can be used by a fire department for years of safety training.

"We are out here training everyday to protect the constituents in Nevada County and the City of Grass Valley," Tantum said. "It's important to keep up on our skills every single day."

Tantum works for GVFD now but was also an offensive tackle for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for four years, according to Armstrong.

Tantum was completing a round at another new prop designed to simulate a commercial or residential door that must be forced open if it was locked or secured, according to Armstrong.

"The goal of the class is to teach our young firefighters how to be better at their jobs through what is called firemanship," Armstrong said. "A lot of that comes down to taking their base entry-level fire training and making it professional."

There are different types of nozzles with different applications that flow different waters such as a smooth pour or a combination nozzle — everything from a fog to a streamlined flow.

"Other agencies from Central California are able to come out and use the grounds with us today. We’re all trying to perfect our craft. We are continuously learning,"

Instructors for The Art of Stretching, Flowing and Moving came from the City of Woodland, Clovis City Fire Department, Fresno City Fire Department, and Sacramento Metro Fire Department, according to Armstrong.

GVFD had the largest number of students participating, who attended the class while off duty, and on their own time, according to Armstrong.

To contact Staff Writer Marianne Boll-See, email [email protected].

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