Webster Groves firefighters started to use the Kirk House yesterday, June 12, as a training facility to test their different skills and techniques. Three crews of about 12 firefighters will use the Kirk House throughout the rest of the week, said Dale Jones of the Webster Groves Fire Department.
Jones said the Webster Groves building commission suggests training facilities to the fire department when organizations want to demolish a building. The Kirk House is expected to be demolished soon.
“We tear it up before they tear it down,” Jones said.
The first crew arrived at 9:15 a.m. on June 12 and Jones said started to work on their hose line advancement throughout the building. Another objective was using a chainsaw for roof venilation. The firefighters have sawed out holes in the roof of the Kirk House. Each crew will saw a third of the roof. Jones said each crew tries to keep the Kirk House intact enough for the next to practice.
Jones said the fire department also uses these soon-to-be demolished buildings to practice its forced entry techniques as well as search and rescue techniques.
“This is an excellent opportunity for us because there are so many different things we can do,” Jones said.
They use a life-size dummy to practice removing a person from a building through windows and doors, and will even use fake smoke to make the situation more realistic.
This will help firefighters, Jones said, if they need to save a victim or a fellow firefighter in the future.
“If you have a 200 pound firefighter then (the firefighter’s) going to have 60 pounds of equipment. You have to figure out how to lift that person out and get out of a window,” Jones said. “(These exercises) build coordination and confidence.”
When the practice exercises are completed, Jones said each crew will review the actions they took in each situation.
“We critique everything,” he said. “We critique every evolution.”