Written by Cadet Morgan, Bravo Company Officer
OCRFA, Battalion 50, Bravo Company, Squad 3, s2
Tuesday September 18, 2018
The day started at 0630 for Battalion 50 as the cadets arrived on academy grounds in preparation for the official start of the day. Unlike most other mornings we were ordered to wait until after PT (physical training) to stage our PPE (personal protective equipment). At 0645 the colors were raised with the American Flag followed by the California State flag. At 0645 we had our company officer briefing with each of the company officers as well as our battalion officer and Academy Coordinator Captain Crudo. Our officer briefings inform the cadets of what will need to be set up for the day’s drills as well as the order in which each company will rotate through drills. The daily rotation is set up with four drills, two in the morning and two after lunch.
At 0700 we started PT, Bravo and Delta Companies began with a mile run while Alpha and Charlie Companies began with a circuit work out consisting of four stations. In the first part, the pace is set by tower runs while carrying hose packs up five stories; the second part of the circuit was pull ups and burpees, the third 170 pound dummy drags for 50 ft. and the fourth using a sledgehammer to hit a tire.
At 0740 each company split up for drill station set up. Alpha Company set up the Portable Water Extinguishers Station. Bravo Company set up the Rehab Station consisting of three 5-gallon water containers and four small ice chests with water for instructors. We also set up traffic cones to block off the training area. Charlie Company set up the ladders in Ladder Land pulling out one 14’ straight ladder and eight 24’ extension ladders. Delta Company connected Engine 40 to a hydrant and ran a supply line to Engine 41 so we would have a water supply for interior and exterior stairwell operations.
At approximately 0830 we tended to personal hygiene. The cadets showered rapidly so we had time for a snack before we had to be at our first drill by 0900. Bravo Company started the day in Ladder Land with Captain Hundley from the Oxnard Fire Department where we practiced throwing the 24’ extension ladders with one person. With eight 24’ ladders and 10 Cadets it felt like we threw each ladder more times than we could count. After an hour and a half of ladders and a 10-minute rehab period, Bravo Company was on our way to the Portable Water Extinguishers Station for pallet fires training with Captain Gabriel from the Fillmore Fire Department. At this station we got to experience live fire for the first time in the academy. The cadets got to use both a straight stream and the spray method of putting water on the fire using portable water extinguishers. After we each had a chance to extinguish a pallet fire, Captain Gabriel showed us how to properly refill the extinguishers with water and recharge them with compressed air. Once we finished, we were dismissed to lunch by our Battalion Officer.
Around 1245 Bravo Company began to head back to our staging area to don our PPE and get ready for out next station which was interior stairwell operations at 1300 with Captain Kerns (ret.) from Los Angeles Fire Department and with Battalion Chief Santillo from Federal Fire Ventura County. At this station the cadets had to pull 1 ¾ attack line off the fire engine and place 50’ of hose outside of the building. Once we had the nozzle and 50’ of hose deployed we called for water and masked up (put our breathing apparatus on). Once all members were in PPE and breathing on air we made our entry into the building. The company member on the nozzle made their way up the stairs while the cadet playing the captain role followed them up. The second firefighter helped feed hose into the building so the nozzle member and captain could advance. Once on the second story, the nozzle member sprayed water out of a window while a captain dropped a drop-bag out of a different window calling for a tool. The cadet playing the engineer role tied a tool off to the rope and the captain hoisted it up completing the evolution for that station.
Our final station of the day was at the 1440 Exterior Stairwell Ops with Battalion Chief McNaughten from Oxnard Fire Department and Captain Jackson (ret.) from Los Angeles Fire Department. This station was very similar to the last except the stairwell was outside of the building. In this station, the nozzle member loaded 50’ of hose on to their shoulder and made their way up the stairs where they were met by a cadet playing a captain’s role. The nozzle member and captain laid out the hose so when they called for water it would fill nicely and be easy to advance. After we called for water we masked up, checked each other’s PPE and felt the door for heat. Captain Jackson told us, “If you feel heat towards the top of the door, open it carefully and spray up at the ceiling upon entry and stay low.” We did as he said, spraying the ceiling and making our way through the prop eventually spraying the hose out the window trying to knock a wood block off a pole in the distance. Again, like the station before, a cadet lowered a drop-bag and called for a tool. Once the tool was tied off and hoisted up that was the end of the drill.
At 1600 all of our drills for the day were complete so we began station break down. Each company broke down and cleaned the station they were assigned to. After the work was completed, two cadets were released to remove colors for the day. We then had a short summary of the day’s events discussing what we had learned. As the days go on, we are continuously building on what we have learned and look forward to what the next day will bring.