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Santa Barbara Co. Fire holding training exercises to prepare for future structure fires

Posted at 6:07 PM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 22:43:25-04

Through Saturday, training exercises are underway for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, with the goal of getting academy instructors recertified and preparing firefighters for structure fires.

At the department's training center on Burton Mesa Boulevard, firefighters get a glimpse of what it is like responding to burning buildings.

A live fire training box has been set up on the premises, giving units a simulation of the real thing.

"We build it up with Class A combustibles, ordinary wood," said Fire Training Captain Matt Osborne. "We light it off and it gives us our fire behavior to teach our recruits what it looks like inside a residence or a commercial building."

Osborne says there are nine academy instructors taking on the training exercise this year.

"This is the last class that I need in order to open up a task book to be a primary instructor for the Fire Control 3 class," said Fire Engineer Matt Farrell.

Farrell says last year there were 24 new recruits in the department. The next batch of applicants will start next January.

He says practice operations like these are crucial for keeping current instructors sharp while providing a learning opportunity for incoming firefighters.

"With these phase one, phase five burn props, this shows us how to put out the fire and keep the fire in check," Farrell added.

Despite the smoke people may see in the air, officials say there is no reason for public concern with this exercise. The department also says they are working alongside the National Weather Service and the Air Pollution Control District to ensure weather patterns are favorable for smoke dispersion.