Extinguishing training goes high tech

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Enbridge’s John Bridges, site supervisor for the Talbot Wind Farm, fights to extinguish the electronic blaze while Ian MacRobbie, general manager of green power and transmission, controls the settings on a training simulator Enbridge has helped fund for the Chatham-Kent Fire Service.
Enbridge’s John Bridges, site supervisor for the Talbot Wind Farm, fights to extinguish the electronic blaze while Ian MacRobbie, general manager of green power and transmission, controls the settings on a training simulator Enbridge has helped fund for the Chatham-Kent Fire Service.

Local firefighters received another training device recently, thanks to Enbridge’s green power and transmission section.

Enbridge donated $12,700 to purchase a Bull-Ex BullsEye laser-driven fire extinguisher training system.

“It’s Wii Fire,” joked Ian MacRobbie, Enbridge’s general manager of green power and transmission, referring to the popular Nintendo video game console.

And he’s not far from the truth.

The BullsEye system features a screen about the size of a typical fireplace, and two fire extinguishers. The idea is to follow the PASS principle – Pull the pin, Aim the extinguisher, Squeeze the lever, and Sweep the base of the flames.

All without any actual flames or the use of real fire extinguishers. The nozzle on the extinguisher projects lasers onto the screen, and receptors pick up where it’s pointed, altering the fire on the screen as a result.

Whitney Burk, a public education staffer with the Chatham-Kent Fire Service, said this BullsEye is a great addition. The service has a traditional propane-powered Bull-Ex training system where users face real flames and have to sweep them away with an actual extinguisher.

Burk said that system, also provided by Enbridge, is excellent for outdoor training. For example, staff at a nursing home can take advantage of such training.

But most of the residents wouldn’t be able to do so.

That’s not the case with the BullsEye system, as it can go indoors.

“We can train more vulnerable people,” Burk said. “For instance we can train the people who live in a nursing home. It’s all done by laser.”

She added the system allows you to program the class of the fire – wood and paper, kitchen, or electrical – and alter the degree of difficulty in suppressing the fire.

MacRobbie was impressed by the versatility of the BullsEye.

“Such things can help keep the communities safe,” he said.

Enbridge has two green energy sites in Chatham-Kent; its Talbot Wind Farm near Ridgetown, and its solar farm near Tilbury.

The company is also sending two grades of students from Ridgetown and Tilbury area schools to the Chatham-Kent Children’s Safety Village for fire awareness training.

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