A digital fire extinguisher training system recently purchased by the Auglaize County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) could be used to help people throughout the county learn how to use an extinguisher to battle a real fire.
Area emergency responders, industries, schools, nursing homes and others could take advantage of the new technology in training to fight fires. Special sessions also are being discussed for citizens interested in learning the proper technique for using fire extinguishers.
One such session is planned for the Auglaize County Fair, where the equipment, acquired at the end of June, is to be on display.
The BullEx Digital training equipment system cost $15,000, with a majority being paid for through grant funding. Of the purchase total, $11,000 is being paid through Citizens Corps grants. The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) has agreed to fund the additional costs as needed, with another grant expected to cover at least a portion of the remaining $4,000.
LEPC Training and Exercise Committee members are determining how they plan to handle requests for the equipment for training.
“When you look at the number of lives lost statewide each year to fire, easing some of the intimidation of having and using fire extinguishers is important, whether they be in homes or businesses,” EMA Director Troy Anderson said. “This can be used anywhere to train anyone.”
He said with fire extinguishers being one of the primary tools in not only fighting small fires, but possibly as a means to clear a path to evacuate a structure, he wants everyone who can be trained on their use so they feel confident doing so.
The training system provides options to train on three different types of extinguishers used in fighting ash, fuel and electrical fires as well as to set the difficulty level on a scale of one to four. While it offers the flexibility of being able to train anytime and any place, the system still provides a realistic experience and feel with the extinguishers which shoot out a laser rather than dry chemicals or water at a simulated fire.
Anderson said the training extinguisher weighs the same as a real one and works in the same way to put out digital fires, making it an excellent training tool.
Sensing where the user aims and sweeps the “laser training extinguisher” to fight varying digital flames, trainees can learn effectively how to use a fire extinguisher without the cost and cleanup associated with using dry chemical or CO2 extinguishers. The electronic control system responds to the trainees’ actions, putting the fire out only when the extinguisher is used correctly.
As part of the system, a conical laser replicates extinguisher discharge and because only a laser light is being emitted, the training can be conducted virtually anywhere. The digital flames also respond to compressed air and water for additional training variations. The system can simulate class A, B and C fires and four different difficulty levels.
The extinguishing training process is realistic and eliminates hazards associated with conventional training. Since the extinguisher doesn’t need recharged, hundreds of people can be trained in a day.
It’s described by its manufacturer as “the latest advancement in fire training technology.” The four-year-old system compares to nothing else on the market.
According to BullEx’s website, the system complies with OSHA requirements, allows training to take place entirely indoors — in a conference room, hallway or the actual work environment, and can grade users, making it easy to monitor improvement and proficiency.