When I asked the Chief if fire fighter training in Fort Worth was similar or different to fire fighter training in Bandung, his response was “very different”. We had just toured the Tarrant County Fire Technology Program (FTP) with Richard “Rocky” Vasquez a Fort Worth Fire Fighter and seen many of the procedures, equipment and technology that keep the area’s fire fighter trainees safe during this comprehensive program. In Bandung, they do it for real. They use real diesel fuel to start real fires and explode real buildings. They rappel off 9-story structures so that they know what it will really be like when they go to an actual fire. This is indeed different! So the chief and his staff were most interested to see what the Tarrant County Fire Technology program has to offer.
Fire fighter trainees come from cities all around Tarrant County to train at this academy. However, they are currently developing a hybrid version of the program in which many of their courses will be online. This will enable fire fighters from all over the world to begin their studies online before traveling to Texas for the hands on portion of the program. The Comanche Peak Nuclear Facility in Glenrose, Texas contracts with the FTP to train their engineers as fire fighters. The training these engineers receive enables them to go “anywhere on the planet” as fire service professionals. The creator of the FTP is currently working in Qatar, which boasts the largest oil production per capita, to create a similar program for the petroleum industry.
The Bandung delegation, JOHN HILBERT SIREGAR, SH, Head of Firefighter Dept., YAN ACHMAD SOFYAN, SE, Head of Sub-Dept., RIDWAN HARDIANTO, SIP Firefighter TOTOY YUHASMANA, Operator Unit/Driver, BELLA BHAKTI NAGARA, Fire Fighter, carefully observed equipment and training tools throughout the tour. They photographed everything, especially each other. (Notice they are wearing the same turnout gear that is hanging in the lockers…) It was great to see how quickly our photographs bridged the language barrier.
Swift Water Training was of particular interest to the delegation since their city lies in a river basin, surrounded by volcanos and the area is subject to frequent flooding. We observed the ‘remote control river’ which can rise at varying speeds anywhere from 20 minutes to fill to 7 minutes (or 80,000 gal/min.) to reach full capacity. You can see in the photo below, Hardi, our translator, describing the banana boat rescue craft design.
Another training structure, the high-rise, offers a room with a ‘spongy ceiling’. Trainees learn to back out of a room when the floor feels this way, since it is a signal that the support columns have been compromised and floor may give way at any moment. The Bandung crew recently worked a fire in which a roof collapsed, resulting in two of their own sustaining burns over 40% of their bodies. Personally, I didn’t want to be walking in that room even without it being on fire.
The rapid urbanization in Indonesia has increased the focus on fire safety and training. Hosting the Indo Firex: No. 1 Fire Protection and Safety and Rescue Industry Event is just one way that they are increasing access to vital information, experts and solutions to technical challenges of fire safety. Fort Worth Sister Cities is proud to be a part of these ongoing training efforts.
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