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Town of Beloit has new fire safety training tool

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ANN MARIE AMES
October 8, 2007
— The Town of Beloit Fire Department has a new toy.

It’s educational, but it’s pretty fun, too.


Last week, the department got a $5,000 fire extinguisher training device. The propane-fueled burner is more convenient to take on the department’s frequent trips to schools and businesses than the gasoline model it used to use.


“It’s a wonderful training device,” said town of Beloit fire Capt. Wayne Endthoff.


The new extinguisher uses air and water instead of monoammonium phosphate—the white powder inside home fire extinguishers. The change is less messy and much easier on the environment, Endthoff said.


A hand-held electronic starter ignites a ring of LP gas in a pan full of water. The operator can adjust the fire to four levels of difficulty to extinguish.


The extinguisher looks like any other, and the water comes out in a spray that mimics the foam that comes out of a regular extinguisher. Sensors on the front of the tray determine when the trainee has put out the fire properly, and the gas is shut off.


A timer keeps track of how long it takes to put out each fire.


When trainees are done practicing, firefighters turn off the gas and dump out the water, Endthoff said. They’re not left cleaning up the tarry and powdery mess left by normal fire extinguishers.


And the business or school in training doesn’t have to pay $22 to recharge its extinguisher.


The money for the new equipment came from the firefighters association as well as a memorial gift from the family of veteran town of Beloit firefighter Dave Busjahn.


Fire prevention tips

This is National Fire Prevention Week. Fire departments everywhere will be holding open houses and trying to bring fire safety to the public’s attention.


While demonstrating the Town of Beloit Fire Department’s new fire extinguisher training equipment, Capt. Wayne Endthoff shared these safety tips:


If you don’t have a fire extinguisher:


-- Get one.


“Many people will never use it, but when you need one, you need one,” Endthoff said.


It’s like insurance on a house, he said. Most people never collect, but when disaster strikes, insurance is a lifesaver.


-- Mount your new extinguisher near the kitchen or back door of your home. That way it’s accessible from the house and the garage, Endthoff said.


-- Extinguishers range in quality and price. Endthoff wouldn’t recommend a specific brand, but “you get what you pay for,” he said.


-- Choose an ABC extinguisher that’s a minimum of 5 pounds.


If you already have a fire extinguisher in your home:


-- Make sure it is where you think it is and not covered with a jacket and an extension cord.


-- Make sure the gauge says the extinguisher is operational. (Pointing to the green section.)


-- Fire extinguishers should be replaced every six years. Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years.


To put out a fire, remember “PASS.”


P—Pull the pin


A—Aim the hose


S—Squeeze the trigger


S—Sweep


The foam from a fire extinguisher should be aimed at the base of the fire, not the flames. The white powder coats the fire’s fuel source, blocking oxygen and smothering the fire.


Use the hose in a sweeping motion to completely coat the fuel source.



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