Citizen’s Basic Fire Academy attendees gain hands-on experience from ECFR and Camas Fire Fighters

March 29, 2012

Citizen Academy participants Martha Martin and Sheila Plato work with ECFR Intern Fire Fighter/EMT Reece Bonenfant to extinguish a fire in the cab of a pick-up truck. Citizen Academy participants learned how to handle charged fire hoses while safely approaching vehicle fires. Exploding pressure cylinders in ‘low impact bumpers’ can seriously injure emergency responders—so Fire Fighters approach vehicles at angles to avoid ‘flying’ bumpers and rocketing cylinders. The 1.75” fire hoses, used to extinguish vehicle fires, deliver 180 gallons of water per minute at a nozzle pressure of 100 psi. Attack crews pull a couple hundred pounds of weight while wearing protective gear, wearing breathing apparatus, and dragging 200 feet of charged hose line. At least two Fire Fighters are preferred when performing fire attack on vehicles. (photo ECFR)


















Seven local citizens participated in the East County Fire & Rescue (ECFR) Citizen’s Basic Fire Academy, held Saturday March 17, at the Fern Prairie Fire Station, located north of Camas.

The eight hour Academy gave participants  a variety of experiences, such as learning about how fire districts serve the unincorporated areas in Clark County, performing Emergency Medical care (which makes up about 80% of ECFR’s call volume), extinguishing vehicle fires, and using extrication tools to tear apart a car.

All seven intend to return to the ECFR Citizen’s Advanced Fire Academy on Saturday April 28.

Citizen Academy participants work with ECFR Fire Fighters and Camas FD Paramedics during a mock ‘Code 99’. Cardiac arrest resuscitation is a very complex, technical, and labor-intensive process. Academy Participant Mike Milani breathes for the CPR Mannequin, using a bag-valve-mask, while Sheila Plato performs CPR. Camas Fire Captain/Paramedic Greg Weisser and ECFR Fire Fighter/IV Technician Brad Delano provided pointers and assisted in the resuscitation drill. (photo ECFR)

The Citizen’s Fire Academy purpose is to expose interested persons to the many ‘workings’ of the Fire District.

Fire Commissioner Gary Larson and Fire Chief Scott Koehler talked to participants about the ‘business aspects’ of running the ECFR Fire District, which included laws pertaining to the formation,  operation, and funding of Fire Districts.

They also discussed the many legal mandates that govern Fire Districts, the Customer Service aspects of providing Emergency Service, and the ongoing Fire and Risk Reduction efforts made by local Fire Fighters.

ECFR Fire Fighter/IV Technician Brad Delano and his crew described how Emergency Medical Services are delivered, and demonstrated how to use some of the medical equipment carried by Fire Fighters.

Participants then ran a ‘Mega-Code’—a simulated cardiac arrest—performing CPR, ventilating a non-breathing patient, starting IVs, and documenting the many procedures and medications that are administered to patients in critical medical emergencies.  Two Fire Fighters from Camas Ambulance assisted in the ‘Mega-Code’ and then showed their ambulance to the group.

Citizen Academy participants Faren Ramos, Diane and Jim Case, and Sheila Plato work with Camas FD Captain/Paramedic Greg Weisser and ECFR Resident Fire Fighter/EMT Zach Vetter to move the ‘resuscitated’ CPR Mannequin to the ambulance for emergency transport to the hospital. Academy participants lifted and moved the patient,—and all the attached resuscitation equipment—and helped maintain care of the patient from the emergency treatment location into the ambulance for Code 3 (emergency) transport to the Emergency Room. According to Chief Koehler, it is a labor-intensive effort to coordinate patient movement. Adequate personnel travel along in the ambulance, during transport, to support the patient if they have a down-turn in their medical condition. (photo ECFR)

ECFR Fire Fighters spent part of the afternoon showing Academy Participants how to handle fire hoses.  Participants donned Turnouts (fire-resistive coats and pants) and then extinguished several fires in the cab of an old pick-up truck.

Academy Members experienced dragging a  hose, weighing about two hundred pounds, as well as equipment while overcoming the nozzle reaction of the charged hose line.

Following the car fires, participants cut-up an old car using hydraulic rescue tools.  According to Chief Koehler, at the end of the day their 5-door SUV had no doors and was “turned into a convertible”.

Academy Members were provided a Certificate of Participation and an Agency T-Shirt; and were invited to Ride-Along with ECFR Fire Fighters for 8 hours of a regular 24-hour shift.  The Academy Members were also invited to do a Sit-Along with the Dispatchers at the Clark County 9-1-1 center.

Academy Participants were Scott Abels, Jim and Diane Case, Martha Martin, Mike Milani, Sheila Plato and Faren Ramos.  East County Fire Fighters included Arthur Bonenfant, Reece Bonenfant, Nathan Brimlow, Mike Carnes,

Citizen's Basic Academy Participants in front of ECFR Water Tender (left to right): Scott Abels, Martha Martin, Mike Milani, Sheila Plato, Faren Ramos, Jim and Diane Case (photo ECFR)

Brad Delano, Alex Gray, Matt Hazlett, Paula Knapp and Zach Vetter.  Camas Fire Fighters included Dale McKenzie and Greg Weisser.

The Advanced Academy, scheduled for April 28, will allow participants to operate an Emergency Operations Center, triage and treat simulated patients at a Mass Casualty Incident, and perform additional firefighting tasks.

ECFR hopes to repeat the two Academies next Spring.

For more information about the East County Fire & Rescue Citizen’s Academy, contact Chief Scott Koehler at 360-834-4908 or