Twenty-four volunteer firefighters from Genesee County are participating in a three-day class to improve their knowledge and skill in dealing with spill-related fires.
The class, conducted by state fire trainers, is designed to give them a better understanding of fighting fires involving flammable liquids using Class B foam.
"These fires are pretty tricky to deal with," said trainer David Baker. "These are fires that can move, so it's a different kind of fire than most people are used to dealing with and can present some pretty significant problems."
The course, which includes classroom instruction, covers types of foam from different manufacturers, how to apply it in different situations and how much foam to use depending on the fire.
Terrain, as well as the nature and amount of the liquid, dictate best practices for fighting specific fires, Baker said.
"This program is designed to teach firefighters how to make the appropriate type and amount of Class B foam and how to apply it correctly to put out a spill fire," Baker said.
Genesee County was picked as one training location, in part, Baker said, because of all the transportation routes that pass through the county.
The basics of fighting spill fires are covered in all early firefighter training, but the course is designed to provide both a refresher for experienced firefighters as well as a hands-on opportunity to work with foam on spill fires. Because such fires are so rare, fighters don't get to practice dealing with them very often.