Thompson-Okanagan Photographer - Barriere Volunteer Fire Department's Training Day

It's not often a fire department gets access to a real house to do their training in, but the crew in the town of Barriere, BC received a special treat. A house located about an hour north of Kamloops, is scheduled to be demolished next month and the owners gave the fire department permission to have free reign to practice and create realistic scenarios so they could do some training. My brother is a captain with the Barriere Volunteer Fire Department and I've been wanting swing by a practice of theirs to get some photos, but the usual days they're out don't line up with when I'm in town. Over the Christmas break, however, I finally got the chance to see what they do.

It was crisp and icy out that Friday afternoon, giving me a great first impression as my feet flew out from under me when I started to walk over to the group. I would later watch others slipping and sliding as the excess water froze. Until now, the dangers of the water runoff freezing in the winter never really crossed my mind as another hazard fire fighters might have to deal with when on the scene.

First on the agenda was to do a walk through of the house. I was able to join them inside and watch as they analyzed what happened in the previous burn, and discuss what was going to happen for the next drill. The fire would reach temperatures as high as 700-100 degrees Celsius. It would get so hot it actually melted part of the uniform on one of the crew members.

It was amazing to see just how quickly their gear got dirty from the soot after only a few minutes in the burning room.

One neat trick I saw was how they use water to clear smoke from a room, as seen in the photo above. Instead of spraying the water from the outside in, they opened a window and directed the water outside to quickly clear the room of smoke after the fire was extinguished.

Thank you so much to the Barriere Volunteer Fire Department for not only letting me document a bit of what you all do, but for the tremendous amount of time, work and bravery you put into keeping your community safe.

Nicole Hemeon Photography is a photographer based out of the Okanagan, British Columbia.

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