Alexandra de Armas
The Miami Dade College Fire Academy at North Campus has been educating and training students since 1982. Students at the academy learn firefighting skills both inside and outside the classroom. 80percent of Miami-Dade county’s employed firefighters were trained at the MDC Academy. The Reporter joined academy students as they practiced firefighting skills in live exercises.
Braking Down The Process
fire Academy students go through different steps during live-fire scenarios, beginning with a preliminary practice exam and eventually putting out practice fires in the interior of a practice Burn Building. Here’s a breakdown of the process:
- First, they learn the theory of fire behavior using their textbooks. After passing an exam with an 80 percent or better, students move on to practice with live fire scenarios.
- Using a fire extinguisher training tool, students first apply theories and practical applications of fire behavior and how to extinguish a fire during live fire drills.
- Next they move to the exterior flange fire. Students are responsible to extinguish a live propane fire, controlled by instructors. The objective of this project is to learn how to shut the fuel out and eventually extinguish a fire.
- Students must contain and extinguish live propane fire on the vehicle prop in three areas: engine compartment, passenger compartment and trunk. This fire is also controlled by the instructors.
- Students then go to the second floor of the Burn Building. On this floor, students experience what it’s like to wear full protective gear in a room where temperature reach up to 500-degrees Fahrenheit. They observe real interior fire behavior. Instructors extinguish the fire with a hose, while students observe steam expansion.
- Finally, on the first floor of the Burn Building, students are able to exercise fire-extinguishing techniques using three large propane live fire props: kitchen cabinet, a couch and a stove. The objective of this project is for students to learn coordination on an interior attack, hose management and awareness during interior firefighting operations.
Source: Mike McCann, program manager of the School of Fire & Environmental Sciences at North Campus
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