COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio - A group of several dozen new firefighters got hot lessons in fighting fires in a special training exercise set up by the Colerain Township fire department on Friday.
As groups of five to six fully outfitted firefighters entered a burning house on Hughes Road with smoke pouring out of the entry door. You could even hear their protection alarms going off.
But they weren't going in to save anyone. It was a special fire fighting exercise in a vacant rundown house given to the Fire Department by Rumpke for fire training purposes.
This is how young firefighters get trained to fight real fires. A bale of hay has been ignited inside a rear room for the new firefighters to see and feel.
"They can watch the heat bank down," said Capt. Steve Conn of the Colerain Township Fire Department. "They can watch the smoke build up and then there are different ways to attack that fire, effect those heat levels differently. So it shows them what to watch out for in these different situations and how to do it safely."
Chances are good many of these firefighters will be spending their Christmas holiday season fighting house fires, similar to the training fire they worked on Friday.
One of the first things they do during the exercise is crawl around the fire as they enter and exit the fire room. Fire officials say there is good reason for that.
"One of the things is, in a fire, get down low," said Capt. Conn. "The smoke is going to go high. The heat is going to go high. The good air is down the by the ground. We follow the same rules."
Although many people may think Christmas tree fires are a big problem in the Tri-State during the holiday season, fire officials say that is not often the case. Rather cooking fires and candles are often the cause of holiday fires.
"People are cooking more," said Colerain Twp Fire Capt. Darian Edwards. "They are cooking larger for events and for parties. The cooking fires are really what the majority of the fires that create real damage or hazards come from."
Fire officials say paying more attention to holiday cooking and reducing distractions would help avoid more fires.
"We just need to be more vigilant," said Capt. Edwards. "Be cautious about how many things are around the stove or on top of the stove. Being forgetful or not mindful when we leave things in the oven. A lot of times, it's just oversight and carelessness of leaving things turned on."
Another fire risk that peaks during the Christmas holidays are house fires caused by candles. Too often fire investigators find that someone left a candle too close to drapes or other flammable material. Another problem is when people let candles burn even after they go to bed.
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