North Myrtle Beach firefighters use digital training equipment

08/08/2014 7:18 AM

08/08/2014 7:19 AM

North Myrtle Beach officials recently purchased digital training equipment that will allow firefighters to practice extinguishing simulated fires.

Fire Chief Tom Barstow said it’s an exciting purchase for the department.

“It’s quite an amazing piece of machinery,” he said. “It’s going to help our firefighters with proper use of handlines (hoses).”

The system involves a simulated fire that crews can extinguish with water, which means no toxic smoke and no burning buildings.

Barstow said it will give firefighters the chance to train in different scenarios than the training grounds which don’t change.

North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling said the BulleEx Digital Fire Attack Training system cost $14,280. Barstow said it was purchased through accommodations tax funds.

The goal is to help the department improve firefighting operations in raised beach houses and condo units along the oceanfront, according to Dowling.

Barstow said people sometimes donate houses that firefighters train in before the buildings are torn down.

“We’re not allowed to burn them,” he said. “But we like to do training in them. This will allow us to use those buildings and practice handline advancement in a different environment that firefighters are not used to.

“Our training building is the same set up, day after day. We can use this in those buildings and not cause any fire damage.”

Barstow said it also means instructors can give better feedback because they can be close to the firefighters without worrying about toxic smoke conditions.

He said the equipment was received in July, but has not been used yet because the summer is the department’s busiest season. The digital training likely will first be used in the early fall.

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