Heat is on during training course

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2007, 12:00am

More than 2,000 of the city's firefighters have gone through a gruelling training programme in which they had to crawl on all fours through simulated tunnels and overcome flames, heat and smoke.

Their ordeal was experienced at the city's first live-fire training centre, established in November to improve firefighting skills.

The West Kowloon Rescue Training Centre has four zones simulating fires in homes, hotels, factories and karaoke lounges, with realistic effects including flames, heat, smoke, water vapour and the cries of humans and animals. It also has a 52-metre tunnel and chute system, simulating sewers and other underground situations to teach the firefighters how to work in confined spaces.

A maze system in a breathing apparatus training chamber exposes trainees to a dark and confined place where they have to overcome claustrophobia and use their tactile senses instead of their eyes to identify directions and routes of escape.

Closed-circuit television, infrared sensors and pressure sensors have been installed to monitor the training sessions.

If trainees encounter a perilous situation or feel overcome by the conditions, the training will be suspended immediately.

All 6,000 firefighters will undergo training at the centre.