Fireman hold a propane fire drill

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 10/28/97.

Brightly colored flames soaring high into the night air at the Paynesville Area High School drew spectators on Oct. 20 to watch a fire drill. The Paynesville and the Eden Valley Fire Departments held a training session to learn more about propane fires.

An instructor from the Anoka-Hennepin Vocational School was on hand to explain what can happen in a fire. The firemen first watched videos and discussed proper procedures at the fire department before heading out to the high school parking lot.

The firemen were put through their paces as they first worked with a burning propane tank, then with a different type of propane fire. The goal of each drill was to reach the propane tank safely and turn off the gas valve.

Ferrellgas provided the propane for the drill. The firemen burned up more than 500 gallons during the drill.

Raising funds for CairnsIRIS

The Paynesville Volunteer Fire Department is in the process of raising funds to purchase a CairnsIRIS, a thermal imaging system.

The unit can be used to help find missing children, locate fires between walls, reduce search and rescue time and cut fire damage by 70 percent.

The CairnsIRIS is a helmet mounted thermal imaging system that will change how a fireman looks at fires. Search and rescue times will be reduced because firemen will be able to see through the smoke...see body heat from victims...see heat behind walls, floors and ceilings. They can move about swiftly in unfamiliar surroundings.

Ventilation is quicker and more accurate...heat and hot gases are released when and where ventilation is needed most. Signs of potential flashover, once hidden by thick smoke, are now more visible. Firemen will be able to locate the source of the fire faster, reducing unnecessary water damage.

ďAbove all, the CairnsIRIS reduces the firefighterís stress and gives them one thing that fire takes away, their ability to see,Ē Dean Bahr, fire chief, said.

ďThe unit costs about $25,000 and we feel it is well worth the price in an emergency,Ē Jim Freilinger, fireman, said. ďBesides being used in fires, it will enable the firemen to see in the dark if needed to help find missing children.Ē Local organizations are being contacted to help cover the cost of the unit.

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