Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fire Training Tower


Here we are in February, and already we're thinking about, talking about, and preparing for extreme water limitations. And where there's drought, there's fire. Last summer's Lightning Complex fires showed how fragile the system is, and as big as those fires were, there's still plenty more to burn out there. With government budgets crashing from top to bottom, and water reserves practically nonexistent, I can't help but wonder where the resources will come from to protect us this year.

Meanwhile, anyone know what those 6000 pound blocks are for?

Sad news to report. Retired Little Lake Fire Chief Jeff Smith died Monday night. I hope he knew how much our community loved and admired him. He had been retired less than a year. Late edit: Jeff Smith's obituary in the paper.

17 comments:

Kim said...

Oh, I love a mystery! I'm wondering if they serve as a counterbalance for when a ladder truck is fully extended? Or for use with a crane? Makes for a great foreground in your fire tower photo. That winter air is looking clear and sunny in your neck o the woods.
-Kim
Seattle Daily Photo

Hilda said...

Uh-oh, that doesn't sound good. Your California fires even make it to the front page of our newspapers :(

I really hope your get lots of rain soon. Any chance of that at this time?

Halcyon said...

Not sure what the slabs are for. I hope we find out though!

Anonymous said...

Those are probably for training in lifting heavy objects,like in a building collapse.

Love your blog, great photos.

Petrea said...

I've wondered about this drought/fire question. Seems like a perfect storm. I try to be positive; for me the best thing to do is not listen to the financial news. I'm sure there's more news out there but it's all those guys talk about.

Be empirical. Read the science. That's the way to prepare.

Wayne said...

Is there a construction crane around there? My first thought is like Kim's, they look like counterweights.

Ron Bloomquist said...

Those blocks actually weigh 60 pounds. They put 6,000 on them so you wouldn't steal them.

:-)

Ernie Branscomb said...

As a firefighter I can tell you that those 6000 lb. blocks are the replacements for the obsolete 3 ton blocks that were formerly used.

Chuck Pefley said...

Either way, it's clever to replace 3 Ton blocks with those of identical weight.

Petrea said...

Used for what?

Kris said...

Get into those fuel burnoffs as soon as you can.

USelaine said...

And so, even with the looking-in by ERNIE!!!, we still don't know what those blocks are used for. Thanks, ERNIE!!!

I saw a bulletin board post that was there will be a rain-invocation dance/sing/whatever gathering at City Park this weekend. Fortunately, we have some small amount of rain coming anyway, if the forecasters are right. Doesn't sound like it will be nearly enough.

I need to say, I really was deeply saddened to hear that Jeff Smith died suddenly and unexpectedly on Monday (see edit to this post). He was a total professional, and I never heard a bad word from him or about him. He even rescued me from my own stupidity once (a lockout), which was the sort of small-town rescue thing that has only happened to me in Willits, because he knew I worked where I worked and why I needed to get in, where a locksmith couldn't have vouched for it. It's been some years since I crossed paths with him, but I still miss knowing that he's out there.

But back to the photo: Thanks everyone, for your inquisitive minds attending to the mystery here. ERNIE, come back and explain!!!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Elaine

First, my condolences for the loss of your retired fire Chief Jeff Smith.

I called the Little Lake Fire Department and asked the training officer, Carl Magann, about the 6000 lb blocks. I had guessed correctly, but I didn’t want to commit to my opinion of what they are used for. The blocks are used for urban rescue training exercises. They move the blocks around with their equipment to get the firefighters used to using moving large objects safely. They place the blocks for a training situation and the firefighters have to move them to a different place safely, without harming anyone or anything. The trick is redundancy. Nothing is moved without back-up. Firefighters use jacks, air bag lifts, hydraulic rams and jacks, but they always back up what they do with cribbing so nothing can slip. A back-up system is always in place.

Anyone that has looked in a newspaper has seen the large blocks of concrete that are scattered about after a building or bridge collapse. Remember the Cypress Structure Bridge in Oakland after the Loma Prieta earthquake? The firefighters are using those blocks for that kind of training.

The town of Willits is very lucky to have such high quality training facilities, and such well trained personnel. Your town has state of the art firefighter training. As a firefighter I am envious!

USelaine said...

Thanks so much, Ernie. That's great detail to realize about our FD, and I'll keep buying their BBQ tickets. I apologize for pushing you so hard, and didn't realize you'd have to make a call I could have made. I thought you were just messing with me. Shame on me. Anonymous had it right too.

Petrea said...

Very cool info, Ernie, thank you. I had no idea the firefighters had to move that stuff. I always thought it was the job of some clean-up crew. What clean-up crew that is, I don't know.

"tatemoo."

Ernie Branscomb said...

Petrea, I just realized what most of us here already know, but possibly you don't. They only have to move the blocks when there are people trapped under them. That's the reason for the intensive traning. For safety.

Petrea said...

Oh duh! That would make sense. Thanks!