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Climbing the Stick – Marion Citizen’s Fire Academy

Each week at the Marion Citizen’s Fire Academy, we tackle a wide variety of topics that firefighters do everyday.  Last night was no different.  We got a complete tour of all the trucks and tools at Station #2.  We then headed over to the old police station for some work with tools like an axe, maul and more.  Our mission?  Break through a wall to secure a way out should you become trapped.  I think we fared pretty well.

Ryan Brainard

Then we talked about ventilation, and how you can get smoke out of a structure quick!  A smoke machine flooded the basement of the old polcie station with white smoke.  You couldn’t see a foot in front of your face it was so thick!

Ryan Brainard

But by setting up an electric fan in an entryway, and opening a door on the other side of the building, the smoke disapeared in minutes.  It was amazing.  But the highlight of the night for all involved was climbing The Stick.  The Ladder Truck.

The stick, when fully extended, reaches 75 feet into the air to reach difficult fires in buidlings that are multiple stories high.  It has controls both on the truck, and at the top of the ladder to help get it in the right position to put out the flames.

Ryan Brainard

Last night, the stick was “only” up to 50 feet.  Only.  I’ve suffered a fear of heights in the past, but it’s something I’ve worked past, so I knew that I could do this.  And what a view it was at the top!  And it was amazingly sturdy.  Despite a steady breeze, the ladder never moved when I was at the summit.

Brain reaches the top!
Photo by Michael Sedlacek

Everyone in our group was able to make the climb!  Some of us wanted to try the ladder at 75 feet!  It’s hard to believe that we only have 2 weeks of classes left!  Next week could be the highlight.  A burn trailer is on it’s way to Marion, and we’ll get to enter it and extinguish actual fires.  The heat will be on….and I can’t wait.

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