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Lara CFA/Nelson Park PAL program
Seven enthusiastic students arrived on Friday 2 August to begin week two of the Nelson Park PAL program.
Week two was all about hoses: learning the signals, operating the hose reel, using the hose with water and bowling the hoses out.
Once the students were geared up, firefighter Michelle ran through what the students learned about hoses last week - sizes, flaking, 'on the bite' and rolls of hoses. One thing I noticed was that the students that seemed withdrawn last week were engaging more and answering questions with confidence.
After the revisit, firefighter Leigh took over and taught the students the water signals of on and off. He explained the importance of calling out loudly while using the signals and why you need to use both the hand signal and your voice.
It was then time to be divided into crews and go to the staging area where they found hoses, branches, and traffic cones. The students learned how to bowl out the hoses which took lots of practice for some, while others were naturals! It was wonderful to see the students encouraging and acknowledging others. While waiting for their turn to bowl, some students learned how to roll a hose or couple the branch on or hoses together.
When they had refined their skills it was time to learn how to snake a hose in preparation for using it. Students took turns holding the front of the hose, how to stand to maximise strength and hand placement for using the branch effectively. When everyone was confident with their positions it was time to use the hoses.
"Imagine how fast you could fill a bathtub with this," said one student when seeing how quickly water came out. This exercise was excellent for teamwork because they had to work together to support the hose when under pressure. The teacher's race allowed the students to teach the teachers and show off what they had learned.
An important safety reminder during the whole exercise was to always wear gloves. Also, it helped to keep fingers warm!
When the exercise was complete, the firefighters showed the students the different water patterns and what they are used for. e.g. the fog pattern is used when fires get too hot. It was then time to drain the hoses and this allowed the students to see the tower in use. Some students even got to use the drying room for their turnout gear.
The final exercise for the day was to watch the firefighters refill the truck.
At the briefing at the end of the day, the students rehashed what they had learned.
"What a good place to work," said one student.