Monday, April 26, 2010

New Fire Station 6 Update

Hillsboro Fire and Rescue’s new fire station on Cherry Lane is on schedule and is expected to open in July. Contractors are finishing the roof on the 16,000 square foot station located at 21880 NW Cherry Lane, just west of Cornelius Pass Road. They are preparing to pour the concrete flooring for the three engine bays. Work should begin soon on the interior of the building.

The fire station will serve as the Fire Department’s new training center and will provide a base of operations for the Hillsboro Fire Department’s volunteers. It will also house a fire engine staffed 24/7 by career personnel.

City and Department staffs are making plans for a dedication event for late summer for which the public will be invited. Keep watch for announcements for the date and time. Funding for the $2.8-million comes from the general fund and the local option tax provides funding for the additional firefighters, apparatus and equipment.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Forcible Entry Drills

When firefighters respond to a reported fire, one of their first tasks upon arrival is to get into the building. During the day when the structure has been occupied, doors are usually unlocked. But at night or when the occupants are away, firefighters must forcibly enter the building. In some commercial buildings metal doors, heavy-duty locks and cross bars slow their entry to the fire. To ensure that firefighters have all the skills necessary to quickly make entry, they practice cutting open the metal doors, hinges and locks that can dramatically slow their fire attack.

This past week, Hillsboro Volunteer Firefighters drilled at Fire Station #3, located at 4455 NW 229th Avenue on these skills. The station has a number of training props located there. They include commercial steel man-doors that are designed to allow firefighters to practice their forcible entry techniques. The gas-powered circular rescue saw is among the most popular tools used to cut into steel doors, hinges and lock bolts. The saw can be fitted with the normal wood cutting blade, concrete cutting blades or a special blade that cuts hardened metal quickly. Firefighters recognize these doors are expensive and attempt to minimize damage to the doors and framework, but have to balance cost conservation with the need to access the building quickly to attack the fire.

The first step is to assess the type of door the firefighter faces, recognize the type of locking components, hinges and potential internal structure, and then begin to attack its most vulnerable points. Experienced firefighters can usually cut through these doors in a matter of minutes.