Monday, October 1st, 2012 10:10 am
By Mary Beth Smetzer
For the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
FAIRBANKS — Turnout drills in bunker gear, water hose skills and multiple pushups aren’t the usual high school class activities.
But for Hutchison High School students enrolled in a Introduction to Fire Sciences course, it’s all part of the learning experience with more to come.
The class’s five-hour field trip to University of Alaska Fairbanks Fire Station No. 2 Friday, included a firehouse tour, question and answer period, lunch with on-duty firefighters and paramilitary boot camp training.
A good portion of the day was spent repeating turnout drills in the fire station parking lot — about 40 or 50 times, interspersed with a round of pushups for good measure.
A turnout drill goes something like this:
Students, standing stiffly at attention, heads high, eyes forward, and arms clamped to their sides, appear impervious to near freezing temperatures while waiting for firefighter Jayson Russell to bark a start command.
On signal, students immediately dig into a pile of personal firefighting gear stacked neatly at their feet.
First removing their shoes, each person pulls on an open-faced fireproof hood over their heads and shoulders for spark protection, steps into insulated black pants conveniently tucked into heavy firefighting boots; secure their pants by snapping the attached red suspenders over their shoulders before slinging arms into bulky jackets.
Breathing masks or oxygen tanks weren’t part of the day’s turnout drills, so students hurriedly plopped fire safety helmets into place, fumbled to secure heavy leather gloves on their hands, before giving a muffled glove clap, and raising their arms in a sign of surrender to silently announce they were finished.
Read the full article here.