On the schedule we were given the first night of the Marion Citizen's Fire Academy, every single participant looked ahead and saw  "June 5th - Burn Trailer." The Burn Trailer is a simulator that firefighters use for training excercises.  It would give us a chance to actually enter a structure and put out several fires.  All the training we had up to that point would be put to the test.  It was time to gear up.

Ryan Brainard

It was full bunker gear, hood and our SCBA's last night.  No exposed area's of skin.  Temperatures inside the trailer hovered around 500 degrees when the flames were present.  That's hotter than I cook chicken nuggets for the kids.  Once the gear was on, we got in groups of 3 and 4, grabbed the hose and prepared to enter an active fire.

Ryan Brainard

After putting out a fire at the entryway of the trailer, we entered the structure and hit the floor.  In a fire, temperatures soar the higher to the ceiling you are.  Getting low could save your life.  On all fours, crawling through smoke and darkness, we then had to seek out the other fires, lay down water and put them out.  Work as a team, don't leave anyone behind and get out safely were the themes of the night.

The thing I can't get over is how physically exhausting the experience was.  Full bunker gear, oxygen tank on your back and carrying a hose in and out takes a toll.  And last night was COOL outside!  Imagine fighting a house fire on a hot summer day!  Last night's class was just another lesson in our appreciation for what the men and women who are firefighters do everyday.