HFR stays sharp with continued training

To stay up to date on the latest techniques and equipment, firefighters from departments throughout the area attended a training session hosted by Highlands Fire and Rescue focused on forcible entry training on Sept. 21.

If a firefighter can’t enter a structure, there’s not a whole lot they can do to help, said Phillip Britton, president of PEB Enterprises that specialize is fire service training systems. Britton was leading the training session using The Challenger, a training system that simulates a variety of doors and locking mechanisms to assist firefighters in training.

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Phillip Britton, president of PEB Enterprises, explains some of the features on The Challenger, a fire service training system at Highlands Fire and Rescue on Sept. 21.

“It’s a great asset for fire departments,” said Britton. “When you pull up to a burning building, before you can do anything you have to gain entry.”

Before systems like The Challenger were introduced, firefighters had to conduct forcible entry training in abandoned structures.

The construction of a door and the locking mechanisms determine the method and tools used to gain entry said Britton. Being able to practice with a variety of tools on several different door-construction types helps firefighters build confidence and efficiency with equipment.

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The Challenger offers 11 different features enabling firefighters to use a variety of tools and methods to train on forcible entry.

This is one of the weekly training sessions HFR firefighters attend. HFR Chief Ryan Gearhart said it was important to conduct weekly training.

“If you don’t use it, you lose it,” he said.

HFR purchased The Challenger costing $7,000.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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