This past Sunday 30 firefighters and seven EMTs participated in a department-wide rescue drill inside a vacant house on Massachusetts avenue in Oak Bluffs.
“We do them whenever a house is scheduled for demolition,” said acting chief of the Oak Bluffs fire department John Rose. “We lit the rooms on fire and practiced different evolutions, interior tactical methods, ventilation, stuff like that.”
Firefighters with less experience entered the house first.
“We have four brand new members and one junior firefighter, and we bring them in and show them the stages of fire so that they are comfortable in a confined space,” Mr. Rose said. “Everybody did a really good job.”
The last live-fire drill was three years ago at Farm Neck, said Mr. Rose.
The day before the drill, firefighters set up safety precautions by hanging up cement boards to prep for the fires. At 8 a.m. Sunday morning, department members gathered at the station and were briefed on safety precautions. The training at the house began at 8:30 a.m. and finished around 1 p.m. The drills were broken up into three different rotations, each with five evolutions that lasted 15 to 20 minutes long.
“It was a huge success,” Mr. Rose said after the drill. He expressed appreciation for the department first responders.
“They are training themselves to become better at protecting and serving the community. A lot of the guys don’t get paid to do any of this stuff and they spent Saturday and Sunday away from their family. And I really appreciate that.”