Gahanna area firefighters hone their skills with practice burn

GAHANNA, OH (WCMH) — You’ve probably heard of firefighters doing practice burns. They take an old structure and set it on fire so that the firefighters can get extra training. But you probably haven’t had the chance to go inside one of these buildings to see how they’re prepped for the exercise. There’s more to it than you might think.

Sunday, some Columbus firefighters along with Gahanna area firefighters had the opportunity to practice putting out a house fire along Taylor Road.

Greg Gilbert, a Madison Township firefighter, said they make these training fires as realistic as they can.

“It makes us better at our job,” said Gilbert.

“Getting a house donated to come in and do training to be better prepared for the residents is obviously our primary focus.”

In preparation for the training fire the house had to be completely cleaned out. Then stacks of pallets with straw on top were place in several rooms throughout the home. These are called “burn piles”.  Firefighters use flares to light these piles on fire. Gilbert said they also had to construct some safety precautions.

“We’ll put multiple sheets of drywall up so it holds the house together better. (It) makes it safer for us, so we can do multiple evolutions as guys are coming in. We want to be able to light it and then we want to be able to have crews continue to come in and get more and more reps cause the more reps you get the better you are,” explained Gilbert.

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