Ten current and former Honolulu Community College Fire Science students attended the 2013 Hawai‘i Fire Conference from July 1 through July 3.  The conference is Hawai‘i’s premiere convention for firefighters that featured various seminars and hands-on training events that were conducted in abandoned housing within Kalaeloa and at the Seafarers Training Facility.

The conference provided high quality training and instruction to firefighters of all ranks and experience levels and was intended to prepare participants to efficiently and effectively execute the most advanced rescue and fire operation techniques.

The objectives of the conference were to deliver the most realistic and innovative training possible, while ensuring a high level of personal safety, encourage a proactive mentality and teamwork, provide tools and techniques used by successful fire departments, and encourage professionalism.

Each attendee had the opportunity to participate in HOT (Hands-on Training) throughout the course of the conference. They maneuvered in assigned teams carrying out engine-company evolutions, dragging charged hose lines into smoke-filled structures, while search and rescue teams carried victims out to safety.

Simultaneously, other teams were engaged in venting the roofs to allow hot gases and smoke to escape in order to provide visibility for teams entering the structure for total extinguishment. Other tactics employed included the use of tools and equipment to forcibly open locked doors and allow other teams to gain entry and accomplish their assigned objectives.

All of the training evolutions provided realistic scenarios to force each student to consider variables such as sizing up a building, fire conditions, ladder type and placement, tool choice, search techniques, secondary means of egress, and victim removal.

“The valuable experience also stressed the importance of working together as a unit in which safely is top priority,” shares Honolulu CC Fire instructor, Chief Richard S. Rhode.  The training was timely, with the highly profiled deaths of the 19 Arizona firefighters in national media most recently.

Retired Fire Chief Bobby Halton was the keynote speaker who delivered a rousing presentation that garnered and focused the attention of all attendees.

Seventy participants included firefighters from the Honolulu Fire Department (FD), Federal FD, Kaua‘i FD, Barking Sands FD, Maui FD, plus Kona and Kalaeloa Airports in addition to the Honolulu CC fire students, lecturers and drillmasters.

Honolulu CC is the first community college in the University of Hawai‘i System to offer an associate in applied science degree in fire science.