Thanks Milwaukee TMJ4 News

TMJ4's Special Report: An Introduction

Fire Insignia On April 29th, Milwaukee TMJ4 News ran a special report featuring a training exercise conducted by the Racine Fire Department on the Kansasville fire-ground. TMJ4 news anchorperson, Diane Pathieu, donned full firefighting gear and led a team of firefighters in an aggressive attack against a staged fire within a mortar building. Ms. Pathieu learned quickly that firefighting isn’t as easy as Hollywood suggests.

Diane led her crew into the building, found the seat of the fire, and manned the nozzle successfully extinguishing the targeted fire. After operations were finished, Diane removed her helmet and noticed that her face shield warped under the heat conditions in the building. This suggests that temperatures were above 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Three Elements of the TMJ4 Story

The TMJ4 news story demonstrated a few key points. First, firefighting is physically stressful. When preparing to combat the “red devil”, a firefighter must wear about 50 pounds of gear, which includes turnout clothing and a mounted SCBA. This of course, does not include the weight of a hose-line charged with water, nor does it include tools; Mrs. Pathieu learned about this first hand while crawling through a smoke-filled building.

Second, fighting fire can be downright scary. Unlike with EMS scenes, there are more unpredictable variables at play that could easily lead to fatalities. When arriving on scene, oftentimes fire companies do not know what sort of fuel is burning, how long the fire has been lit, or how structurally sound the building was before the fire first ignited. Each of these factors could lead to premature collapse while firefighters are inside.

And third, fire conditions can get extremely hot extremely fast. Firefighters are taught to recognize flashover, a condition that occurs when the room and its contents reach the temperature of about 1100 degrees Fahrenheit. When this happens, all material that is combustible will ignite at the same time. If a firefighter cannot get out on time (which is only a matter of seconds), it’s a deathtrap.

I would like to extend a special thanks to Diane Pathieu and Milwaukee’s TMJ4 News for covering the live burn training conducted by the Kansasville and Racine Fire Departments. Much like the military and police, our fire departments are the civic battalions of our homeland assigned to help protect her citizens from harm and death. So when you see a firefighter, let them know that you appreciate their work and bravery.

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