This coming weekend, May 18 and 19 the Wilmington Fire Department in conjunction with the West Dover Fire Department will be conducting a live fire training event. Other fire departments in the surrounding mutual aid area will also be in attendance. Training such as this doesn’t happen very often and it provides an excellent training environment that is as close to real life situations as it can get with a safety element built in that firefighters don’t have when responding to fires. On Saturday, the focus of the training will be search and rescue techniques, with no or very little fire involved, just a lot of smoke. This enables the firefighters to focus on and hone their search and rescue skills without the aspect of a fire and the urgency of having to deal with the fire.
Sunday will involve fires of varying sizes and intensities. This is where the firefighters will sharpen their skills on attacking a fire. The firefighters will experience relatively small fires that should be extinguished without much fanfare to some very challenging situations that will require some advanced skills to accomplish extinguishment. The variety of fire will represent the different types of fires that we encounter in real life. We do this so that when the real thing happens the skills that are needed to attack modern day fires are there so we can provide the highest level of service that our communities expect.
The road will remain open to traffic. It is not a through road so any traffic impact will minimal. At this point in time we are not planning on having fire apparatus going in and out of the area. The plan is to have the apparatus parked on the outside of the circle and not block any driveways and to use some of the equipment off them that we will be using during the training exercise. There will be a fire officer in the vicinity of the apparatus to make sure that this event is not a major intrusion on the neighborhood. There will be a couple of times when there will be a lot of loud sirens sounding. Hopefully this will only be once each day. The reason for the sirens on the scene is an evacuation signal to notify all firefighters in and around the building that an evacuation has been ordered due to deteriorating conditions within the structure. We are planning to do this each day so that it can be practiced to ensure that all firefighters know the signal and what their responsibilities are when this happens during actual circumstances. So with that in mind, if people see a large column of smoke on Route 100 North this weekend, chances are it will be the training event.
Wilmington Fire Chief