Firefighters from Hawaiian Islands train at Pōhakuloa Training Area
More than 50 firefighters, to include the Pōhakuloa Training Area Fire Department, gathered to take the “Nozzle Forward” course, this July 1 through 2.
This structural firefighting training was coordinated by the Hawai‘i Fire Department and taught by a subject matter expert from the Seattle Fire Department. Participants came from across the Hawaiian Islands, state, and federal departments. Designed as a Train-the-Trainer type event, participants returned home to teach their department personnel the unique skills and procedures.
“PTA has the only live firefighting training structure on the island and we’re proud to be able to support the readiness of local firefighters,” said Pōhakuloa Training Area Commander Lt. Col. Tim Alvarado. “Our first responders respond to daily incidents on Daniel K. Inouye Highway such as stranded hikers, vehicle accidents and other emergencies.”
Some benefits from this training include decreased time to get fire under control, reduced property loss, risk reduction, and more. Participants received classroom and hands-on training at Pōhakuloa Training Area’s Military Oriented on Urban Terrain Facility.
“The importance of training for firefighters cannot be understated because the expectation when the public calls is that we deliver professional services,” said training coordinator Battalion Chief Patrick Springer with the Hawai‘i Fire Department. “When we arrive on scene, time is our enemy, so we need to put out the fire as quickly as possible to minimize the threat to our personnel and the community we serve.”
Aaron Fields with the Seattle Fire Department developed this training “after eating some humble pie” early in his career and spent a decade taking classes from experts around the country to improve his skills. He developed this problem-solving curriculum for structural firefighting that can be tailored to each company’s specific requirements. Fields says about 70,000 firefighters and 450 fire departments have implemented this skillset in some capacity since he started teaching this class 12 years ago.
“It’s basically rediscovery of engine company tactics and techniques…most fire department that we implement this training are using this within a few years as their base, the first thing people are learning.”
Fields says this class also includes building construction and layout, and thermodynamics. “Our gear has gotten better and better, and it’s inoculated us to the point that we’re not always sure what’s going on around us in the spaces we’re operating in.” He travels across the U.S. on his off-time to train firefighters the ‘Nozzle Forward’ class.
“This is an excellent technique using your body weight and working the angles,” said Pōhakuloa Training Area firefighter Ian Santa Cruz.
Adam Hussey with the Kaua‘i Fire Dept. said “We came to this training because we feel that if we work together across the islands, we’re stronger together.”
“Everything we learn here, we’re going to take back and apply it to training we do on Maui,” said Capt. Timothy Herrick with the Maui Fire Dept. He said they watch a lot of training videos and this class helped explain a lot of the ‘why’ and science behind tactics.
“This is the best training ever held on this island for this generation of firefighters, and it wouldn’t have been possible without PTA’s support,” said training coordinator Battalion Chief Patrick Springer with the Hawai‘i Fire Department. “We are truly grateful for this partnership.”