MSFI gives new fire apparatus tour

Posted:  Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 11:00am

Hawke Motors was the temporary home for the Maine Fire Service Institute’s (MFSI) new training apparatus during the Maine State Federation of Firefighters Convention this past weekend. Onlookers got a taste of what the fire simulation trailer can do as flames engulfed the back area of the trailer while MFSI Director Jim Graves wet down the back part of the structure.

Deputy Director Jim Roy gave the standing tour, explaining many of the functions of the fire apparatus.

Roy shouted through the rumble of the trailer’s generator, “In a real fire situation, you would have much more extreme heat than what you’re feeling.”

A closer look around the trailer revealed metal frames which can be moved and set in nearly unlimited designs. These frames cam secure average, household building and construction materials.

“We can make a maze in here, any type of maze we want,” said Roy. “We can put up studs, put up sheetrock and simulate a wall breach. We can set up a wall to simulate a (demolition) drill. From the second floor, we can simulate an indoor basement fire which is one of the toughest fires to fight.”

Three cameras nable instructors to view the progress and safety of trainees. Roy said if there is a malfunction in the system, the propane – which provides the fuel for the flames – and the entire system will shut down.

“The roof prop on top of the apparatus can be used to simulate roof ventilation drills and can also be set flat to simulate a confined space entry,” continued Roy. “There are multiple operations we can do with this trailer.”

Roy said this is the first time the apparatus has been moved off of the Southern Maine Community College campus since its acquisition in October. The problem with having the trailer moved from place to place is finding someone willing to transport such a heavy and potentially dangerous structure powered by propane; the fuel is transported aboard the structure.

“Fortunately— quite accidentally— we made a connection at Dead River,” said Roy. The company has offered to move it anywhere in the state for free, he said. We’re quite pleased about that.”

The Maine Fire Service Institute, a department of SMCC, purchased the fire apparatus through FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant. Roy said MFSI plans to get the trailer out a few more times this year. Next year, the trailer will be traveling in six and eight regions in Maine including the Boothbay Region next spring.

“We want to do what is right every day when we come to work,” Graves said after Roy’s tour. “That’s the message we’re trying to get out there.”