Firefighters must be extremely confident and comfortable when utilizing their personal protective equipment at emergency incidents. Undoubtedly, the single most important piece of this equipment is the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) which provides firefighters with the breathing air required to operate on the interior of a structure or at other emergency incidents where toxic atmospheres may be present. When firefighters use their SCBA their sight is typically obscured or non-existent and other senses are taken away by the smoke, heat, and noise created by the fire and the ongoing suppression operation. To ensure Brewster firefighters are able to survive in these dangerous environments we use our mask confidence course to simulate potential hazards and proactively train our members in the survival techniques necessary to remove themselves from danger. Some of the safety and survival techniques we teach include wall breaching, moving through confined spaces, radio communications, self-removal from entanglement hazards, issuing mayday messages, and situational awareness.
Over the past several weeks Firefighter/Paramedic Matthew Tucker and Firefighter William Kraul completed a project to reconstruct the departments mask confidence course. While Brewster has maintained and supported this in-house training prop for several years these energetic members recognized the course needed renovating and updating. A newly designed program that incorporated a number of new and innovative scenarios was designed and built. This new course is challenging and dynamic and accurately recreates the “real life” hazardous situations that a firefighter may be faced with while operating at a structure fire. Over the past several years our training committee has found the utilization of hands-on training props such as the mask confidence course as instructional tools to be the most beneficial method of preparing our firefighters to operate safely and effectively at emergency incidents. We feel this newly revised, modern course will significantly improve our ability to offer the high quality training our organization is known for while at the same time enhancing firefighter safety and our capacity to provide professional services to the community. The Brewster Fire Department would like to thank Kraul Enterprises and Breakwater Construction for their donation of the materials used to complete this project.