At Wednesday's meeting of the CERT Basic Training program, members learned important aspects of fire safety and utility controls. The topics discussed include:
- Fire Chemistry: How fires occur, what needs to be present for a fire to exist, classes of fire and choosing the correct means to extinguish each type of fire.
- Fire and Utility Hazards: Potential hazards found in the home and workplace as well as fire prevention strategies.
- Sizeup Considerations: How to gather information and evaluate scenes as well as assess resources and determine a course of action.
- Fire Suppression: How to decide if you should attempt to extinguish a fire, how to approach one, how sprinkler systems work and how to operate different kinds of fire extinguishers. (The members were given a hands-on lesson on this with help using a fire built by Captain Bill Hall and Firefighter Greg Marques, a member of the Public Education Team.)
- Hazardous Materials: How to identify potentially dangerous materials in storage, transit and in homes.
During the team's exercise, "Suppressing Small Fires," Hall allowed each member a turn using a 2.5-gallon water can extinguisher to suppress a small fire that had been built behind the Town Hall Annex. He taught the team how to properly operate the extinguisher and also how to aim at the base of the fire instead of the tops of the flames.
"Fire is not what it seems sometimes. When it comes to spreading, it really takes a lot," said Hall. "You'd be surprised at what a difference just closing a door makes when it means either burning the contents of one room versus burning your whole house down."
Next week the team with learn about CERT organization and shelter operations. A guest speaker from the Coventry Department of Human Services will also stop by.