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Under the helmet: how firefighters prepare for wildfire call

Under the helmet: how firefighters prepare for wildfire call
Posted at 4:23 PM, Jul 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-03 19:23:25-04

It’s wildfire season, and that means firefighters have to be extra alert.

Firefighters at Golder Ranch Fire District Station 380 say they must be quick on their feet when the call comes in.

“When the tones drop for a fire, my first thought is, it’s go time,” Idel Manzo told KGUN9.

Manzo has been with the station for one-year-and-a-half. He says, from the second the first sound goes off, they have one minute and twenty seconds to get dressed, jump inside a fire engine and head out of the station.

“First thing’s first. I’m going to run to the truck as fast as I can,” said Manzo.

At this time, they are hearing what type of call it is, where they have to go, and which units are being deployed.

Captain Adam Jarrold says technology also helps them, as they are getting ready.

“In 2019 the residents of the Golder Ranch Fire District generously passed a bond for the fire district. We were on an analog system and now it’s a digital system. So what that does is it actually speeds up our dispatch process,” said Jarrold.

As firefighters hear instructions, they continue getting dressed.

“Get my boots off...I’m going to start with my nomex hood. Put my turnout bottoms on. I’ll put my jacket on. Get seated. Put my air pack on,” said Idel.

“And the turnout gear will actually help protect the firefighters up to about 400 degrees. And the amount of air in that bottle, it gives firefighters about 20 minutes of good working time while they’re breathing that bottle there,” added Jarrold.

“Make sure I have my radio, my mask, my gloves, my helmet right next to me,” Idel told KGUN9.

The quicker they move, the better.

“We want to get to the emergency as quickly as we can and the public expects us to get to the emergency as quickly as we can,” said Captain Jarrold.

That’s because every second they’re in the station, is a second the fire is burning elsewhere.

“In terms of structure fires, a contained fire will double in size every minute if there aren’t any suppression activities on it. In terms of wildland fires, again, time is of the essence for our firefighters to get on scene, recognize the position they are presented with and start dealing with it effectively,” added the fire Captain.

“Our first priority is life safety. That’s our safety and the safety of the public,” said Idel.

Lastly, they all need to get buckled up once they’re inside the engine.

The driver is the only one who doesn't have to suit-up at the station. Their job is to get everyone there safely, and then gear-up.

“I have a system that works for me. I’m able to do it efficiently and be in the truck ready to go by that 1:20 mark,” Idel told KGUN9.