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Citizens Fire Academy participants were treated to an activity that raised more than hair Thursday night. Each class member was given a lift in the bucket of Tower One.
“I didn’t pass out or throw up so that’s good,” said Jan Shinpaugh, who admits she has a healthy fear of heights. “I also didn’t launch into a screaming fit, so that’s good too.”
Tower One weighs 75,000 pounds and its bucket reaches 95 feet in the air. It was purchased by the city of McMinnville 10 years ago as a way to ensure firefighters can reach the tops of tall buildings.
While the thought of falling can cause actual fear, perception wasn’t reality Thursday night. Training officer Capt. Phil Mitchell says firefighters are fitted with harnesses and hooked to the bucket, as were class members.
“Everyone will be fitted with a harness and given a helmet to wear so there is no real danger,” he said. “For those who are truly afraid of heights, let me know.”
Firefighter Scott Norrod manned the controls of the bucket and escorted two class members at a time.
“You don’t have to go all the way up,” said Mitchell. “If at any time you feel you are high enough, just let Scott know. He will stop immediately.”
During the session, members were also given education about the different types of fire extinguishers and how to properly use one.
Fire extinguisher categories:
• Class A extinguishers are best used for fires that include ordinary combustibles such as paper, clothes, trash, etc.
• Class B extinguishers are best used for fires that involve flammable liquids such as gas, oil, tar, grease, etc.
• Class C extinguishers are best used for fires that are cause by energized electricity such as computers, radios, TVs, etc.
Many extinguishers available today can be used on different types of fires and will be labeled with more than one designator. Multi-purpose extinguishers should be properly labeled.
“In your house, the best extinguisher to have is one designated Class A and Class C,” said Mitchell. “The fire is more likely to be electrical or combustible.”
When using a fire extinguisher, individuals should aim the nozzle toward the base of the fire, stand approximately eight feet away, squeeze the handle to discharge the extinguisher, and sweep the nozzle back and forth at the base of the fire.
The Citizens Fire Academy class is offered by McMinnville Fire Department to allow ordinary citizens the chance to see the daily life of a firefighter.
For more information or how to sign up for the next session, contact the department at 473-6739.