OCRFA; Battalion 50; Bravo Company, Squad 4, s6
Arriving to OCRFA on October 16th at 0630 with some coffee to wake up before a long day. The daily routine usually starts off with cadets staging their gear in front of the apparatus bay neatly but today we were informed to be in the classroom by 0700 for continued classroom lessons on Hazardous Materials. We learned the different duties each type of responder would perform and consider when handling incidents. We referenced the ERG (Emergency Response Guide) frequently and case studied multiple incidents. We worked from a checklist to plan isolation and containment efforts during a situation. We learned what a given substance can potentially do to us and the public. We talked about a variety of different tools to help contain or redirect a spill, control a release by closing valves or consider evacuation of an area because of a hazardous material incident.
At 1200 the cadets broke for lunch and were to be back at 1255. Around 1300 Cadets were informed to set up a simulated Hazardous Material Incident obstacle course. In an organized fashion each cadet rotated through stations of the simulated Hazardous Material incident. Before any cadet can go though the obstacle other cadets had to take their vitals so we could compare them after the obstacle. Every cadet was issued a Level A Hazardous Material Suit and a handheld radio to carry with them in the suit. The suit is a full encapsulated suit, requiring cadets to wear their SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) underneath it.
The course started with the cadets rolling a barrel that was simulated to be leaking hazardous materials into another container to isolate it. We hoisted a bucket with a variety of tools to help shut off valves from a catwalk on silos. We then came to a point where there were multiple pipes releasing a tremendous amount of water so we had to figure out what valves to shut off. Cadets began to feel the heat of the suits at this point, making the course a little complicated. We came to another cadet at the "gate" where we had to relay our SCBA PSI and our location. After relaying our status to Entry Team leader, we continued on with the course to a leaking drum. We performed a defensive operation (diking) around the drum using sand. At the last station, we used a salvage cover and weighted blocks cover a drain to prevent hazardous material from spreading into the storm drains. Before entering back into the Support Zone, we notified the Entry Team leader of our PSI level and our location once again. To end the simulated incident, we had our vitals taken once again to ensure we were healthy enough to continue with our day.
We began station breakdown and took care of daily duties and ended the day with a little debriefing. Each cadet got a feel of what its like to work at a Hazardous Material Incident and learned some interesting things about HAZMAT incidents. Tuesday October 16th was a good day at Oxnard College Regional Fire Academy.