Virtual fire extinguisher teaches proper technique without the m - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Virtual fire extinguisher teaches proper technique without the mess

(Source: Katrina Helmer) (Source: Katrina Helmer)
Source: Katrina Helmer Source: Katrina Helmer

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue a new virtual training tool called the BullEx Fire Extinguisher Trainer, which was purchased with a $21,000 grant from Firehouse Subs.

The Myrtle Beach Fire Department isn't just here to put out fires. These firefighters are here to teach you about fire prevention and safety, which includes how to put out a small fire using your own fire extinguisher.

Think of this virtual system as a Wii game, but replace the controller with a digital fire extinguisher that has a laser. You aim at the screen and have to put the fire out. Fire education leaders can control how intense the flame is on the screen or even if the flames pop up again. This tool allows firefighters to go out into a business or a school and demonstrate how to properly use an extinguisher without all the mess.

Lt. Christian Sliker shows how the tool works by first grabbing the extinguisher from the cabinet in the hallway. He pulls the pin out of the extinguisher then enters the glowing room. The glow is coming from a screen down on the ground in a corner of the room. You can see fire moving on the screen and hear it crackling.

Lt. Sliker approaches the fire. He warns you should stand six to eight feet away from the flames. Then you need to remember the acronym P.A.S.S. Pull, aim, squeeze, and sweep. "What we're going to do is we're going to aim at the base of the fire,” says Lt. Sliker. “We are going to squeeze the trigger. And we are going to sweep back and forth until the fire is out.”

Once the fire is you, put the extinguisher down on the ground. Never turn your back to a fire. You need to be ready if it rekindles.

“It's going to be a game changer and it's really going to help the city out in keeping our residents and people inside safe,” says Lt. Sliker.

Before in a school or a business, fire officials had to rely on flashlights or a smoke machine to try and simulate a fire. This new virtual system glows, crackles, and rekindles like a real fire would. The instructor can also choose to set a normal fire, grease fire, or electrical fire. It's all about making the virtual experience as realistic as possible. That way if you ever have to face a fire, your muscle memory, instead of panic, will kick in.

“We can put it inside a room and we can actually change the dynamic of the fire drill,” says Lt. Sliker. “So the kids aren't going out in just one set way. Now the teachers have to use their thought processing. Where the fire is, how to escape and get their kids out safely.”

MBFD will get two screens with this grant. One will be used for public education. The second screen will be housed at the training academy, so firefighters can also use it.

This BullEx tool will be used for the first time on Thursday at Pepper Geddings by about 200 kids. And it's not just for schools or hotels to train with. The department is willing to go anywhere in the city to help teach your business or neighborhood watch group how to properly use an extinguisher. Call Lt. Sliker at 843-918-1221 to get connected.

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