On Saturday, June 3, 2017, CERT-trained members of Caldwell County REACT provided support to the firefighters who used the demolition of a house near Collettsville to train in fire suppression. The home was uninhabitable due to repeated flooding.
Prior to the exercise the house was gutted of any dangerous materials and windows to prevent injuries. Hay bales and wooden pallets were used as fuel to feed fires that 7 different teams repeatedly extinguished as part of their training. Following the training exercises, the house was allowed to burn to the ground while being monitored to prevent spreading.
As in an emergency fire scene, the firefighters were required to submit to “firefighter rehab” in which they have their vital signs monitored before, during, and following a fire or other strenuous duties. They are also given water, drinks with electrolytes, snacks, wet towels for cooling, provided shade, and a misting fan. They are required to rest in the rehab area until released. Anyone displaying signs of stress from heat or exertion, may be relieved of duty or transported to the hospital.
There were firefighters, supervisors, and equipment from several fire and rescue departments including Collettsville, Oak Hill, Patterson, North Catawba, Valmead, and Caldwell County Emergency Services.
Caldwell County REACT members set up and staffed the rehab tent. EMTs Rosemary Hall (REACT President) and Michaela Hall monitored vital signs with assistance from North Catawba Paramedic Kenny Hall. Sherri Bogdan kept the records of the blood pressure and oxygen readings. Ted and Phyllis Huntley, Shirley Kanode, and Sabrina Laws provided water and assisted with gear removal and other support. Maria Hiller kept documentation of resources and activities for the Incident Commander. Curt Hiller, Gary Dishman, and Mark Barerra managed traffic due to a lane closure and firefighting equipment on the road. All are members of Caldwell County REACT, and several are CERT trainers. They reported at the Collettsville Fire and Rescue building at 0730 and left the fire scene at 1300 followed by a debriefing at the fire station.
It was a good opportunity for the firefighters to practice fire suppression skills in a controlled, safe environment. Our Caldwell County REACT members also used the opportunity to train and learn, and are grateful for the opportunity to participate.