The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay and the North Bay Fire District recently partnered to provide local fire training. North Bay Fire conducted training at the former fish farm facility located on the north spit of Coos Bay. The property provided the district a level drill field approximately one acre in size that contains three out-buildings utilized for training purposes. The location offered value-based training and allowed for modeling numerous scenarios that firefighters encounter while responding to and fighting fires. Training is crucial for firefighters to make critical decisions in mentally and physically stressing situations while in the line of duty.
Since last operations in 1989, the buildings have fallen into disrepair and have been subject to vandalism and theft, making the facility unsafe for both the environment and people. The Port obtained all appropriate environmental permits and removed any hazardous material prior to the burn to learn exercise. After the burn, a metal scrapper was used to pick up any residual material.
Removing the buildings from the fish farm facility increased the safety of the area as well as offered an opportunity to partner with the North Bay and Hauser Fire Districts. While firefighters did not enter any of the out-buildings, there was training value in burning the structures, fighting fire externally allowing firefighters to transition from initial offensive to defensive firefighting. Firefighters had to ensure the proper hand-lines were deployed, perform the proper tactics and maintain radio communication throughout the exercise. One command vehicle, two engines, three tenders and 16 personnel participated. Chief Aldrich indicated, "by partnering with the Port of Coos Bay, North Bay and Hauser Fire we were able to offer excellent value-based training for our team members which promotes recognition-primed decision making when it's most needed, during an actual emergency."