Written by Cadet Tom,
OCRFA, Battalion 50, Charlie Company, Squad 5, s4
On October 3, 2018, OCRFA Battalion 50 began our day arriving on academy grounds at 0630 hours. Cadets arrived in their PT gear and began staging their wildland gear south of the apparatus bay. This was the first of two weeks focused primarily on wildland firefighting. By 0700 hours, PT began with an eight station workout. With this being our seventh week into the academy, all of the cadets are in top physical condition.
After PT, cadets prepared for the rest of the day by setting up the academy grounds for the (four rotation) drills of the day. The four rotations consisted of learning about the wildland tools used and how to maintain them, along with two rotations of progressive hose lays and fire shelter introduction. Each rotation lasted approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes in length.
I’m currently assigned to “Charlie" company and we started our rotation with Captain Gabriel learning about fire shelters. During this rotation, cadets learned how to deploy and use their fire shelters during a wildland fire incident. The cadets were challenged with getting into their fire shelters while being timed. This was a very valuable station for the cadets.
Our next rotation was learning about the basic tools used during a wildland fire. We learned about the pulaski, shovel (combination tool) and the McLeod. Along with learning how the tools were used we were taught how to properly maintain and sharpen the tools. After the orientation of the tools, we were given the opportunity to put our knowledge to the test. Each cadet picked a different tool and we learned how to properly cut a fire line. This rotation brought us to lunch time at 1200 hours.
The third station began at 1300 hours in the duck pond with Captain Herrick. During this rotation we walked through each step of the progressive hose lay (by the numbers). We were instructed on how to properly roll a hose pack, use a nozzle (straight stream to fog), how to properly clamp a hose, and how to anchor in before advancing on the fire. This was a very informative station and I personally learned a lot of new skills.
The fourth station was again doing progressive hose lays, but this time each cadet was challenged with performing a progressive hose lay with a partner. This was a great learning experience having to work with a teammate to complete the task. This station really showed the importance of communication and team work. The instructors also challenged the cadets by timing the hose lay from start to finish. This added some pressure but quickly turned into a friendly competition within each company on who could complete the hose lay the fastest.
The end of the rotations finished at approximately 1700 hours and station breakdown began. Cadets from each company were assigned to different tasks to help clean up. By 1730 hours the battalion was dismissed for the day. This was another successful and challenging day at the Oxnard fire academy.