Monthly Archives: July 2010


Driving the Rescue Engine

Story from

At 1233 hrs the rescue assignment was dispatched for the accident with one overturned on Central Avenue in the area of Garrett A Morgan Blvd. First arriving Engine 371 (Ritchie) arrived to find a multi-car accident with one overturned with a victim pinned inside and a second victim trapped in a separate vehicle approx 600 feet down the street. Due to the severity of the wreck and the resources required a second Rescue Squad was requested. Soon after Rescue Squad 33 arrived on the scene with 6 volunteers and went to work. With the amount of work to be done on separate vehicles the crews immediately split and began stabilization efforts on the over turned vehicle. Once this was completed half of the crew conducted a removal both drivers side doors and the B-post to remove the victim. While this was taking place utilizing the preconnected tools off the Rescue Engine, the second half of the crew made their way with the portable hydraulic tools to the other trapped victim. The crew removed the drivers side door of that vehicle to gain EMS crews access to the victim. With all extrication duties completed and both victims removed, the second Rescue Squad was returned to service prior to their arrival. The removed victims were transported by awaiting EMS personnel to area trauma centers and the Rescue Engine gathered their tools and returned to service.    

 RE Crew works on the overturned vehicle
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 B-post removal
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A Good Time at Engine Ops in West Chester

Here is an entry from the Traditions Training Blog on a Engine Ops class we taught in West Chester PA. A great group of firemen and its always a joy to be around those who want to learn, theres even a little video of me taking too long to put on my facepiece, enjoy! 

Check it out: “As goes the first line…”

That famous quote nicely sums up the running theme of a 16-hour engine company operations class this weekend hosted by the Goodwill Fire Company of West Chester, PA.   The program focused on the primary goal of the engine company: getting water on the fire.  Over the weekend we discussed a variety of essential issues along those lines.

Chief Kelleher (DCFD / Kentland 33) discusses setup of the rig and a 400′ line.

First was the need for versatility on the engine company.  We discussed the importance of setting up the rig with various options in hoseline length, diameter, nozzle selection, etc.  Further, since it’s impossible to have a dedicated hoseline for every scenario, we must learn to use what we do have in multiple ways for different situations.  These variations have to be planned, communicated, and understood by all members BEFORE the fire, much in the same way as a football play.

We also discussed the need to establish a water supply early, and various options to accomplish this.  Of course another running theme was our company motto, “COMBAT READY”.  Students learned to mask-up quickly, with firefighting gloves already on, at the fire door with a goal of less than 15 seconds (many of the students quickly reached this goal!). Students “ran lines” all weekend, honing their skills through repetition in getting the line off the rig and to the fire quickly and SMOOTHLY.

The obtacles that instructors setup throughout the weekend (stairs, picnic-tables, corners, debris, etc) were enough to prove what we first said in the classroom on Saturday morning:  THE SUCCESS OF THE ENTIRE ENGINE COMPANY HINGES ON THE BACKUP FIREFIGHTER’S COMMITMENT TO THEIR JOB.  Though it’s not the “glory spot”, when the back-up firefighter does their job, the line is able to get into place quickly and advance smoothly.  Various techniques for handling obstacles and keeping the line moving were shown and practiced throughout the weekend.

Students stretching the 400′ line

We covered various stretches: preconnects, reverse lay, window stretch, standpipes, extending lines and long length hoselines.  Students learned to stretch an 1.75″ line 600′ with only 4 firefighters in under 90 seconds. To illustrate the effectiveness, the line was even flow tested and measured with a Pitot gauge while flowing.

The engine company ultimately has a pretty simple mission at a fire: put the fire out.  However the steps that must be taken to do this can be quite complicated and require skill, practice, and communication.  Over the weekend we stressed the importance of having multiple plans and options, and that everyone makes errors — it’s not about how you screw up, it’s about how you RECOVER.  The students put 110% into the weekend and their perofrmance during Sunday’s box alarm drills made us proud.

Thanks to the officers and members of the Goodwill, Fame, and First West Chester fire companies of the West Chester Fire Department!  We appreciate your hospitality and look forward to seeing you soon!


Driving the Tower Ladder as we specialed to DC.

Story from

Just after to 2200 hours, Prince George’s County Fire Communications contacted Kentland Station 33 and advised the members that Tower Ladder 33 was being requested to transfer to District of Columbia Fire Department Truck Company No. 16. The crew of five proceeded to Southeast Washington, D.C. Shortly there after and while en-route to the Irving Place firehouse, the Tower Ladder began to respond on miscellaneous emergencies. At 2258 hours, the Tower Ladder was special called to the fire ground at 1100 Martin Luther King Avenue, S.E. Upon arrival, Command advised Tower Ladder 33 to obtain a position in the front of the building. After completing this task, one of the DCFD Deputy Fire Chiefs was taken via “the bucket” to the roof area. Progress of the fire extinguishment was evaluated and the members stood fast for an additional assignment. Tower Ladder 33 remained on the scene for approx. one-hour before returning to service. The crew returned to Kentland at approx. 0030 hours. All photos are courtesy of retired District of Columbia Fire Department Dispatcher/Supervisor Elliot J. Goodman.

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Tower Ladder Class in Johnston, IA Reinforces Key Point on Knowing Your (and their) Aerial Apparatus!

As seen on the Traditions Training Blog:

Relaying some mind nuggets aquired from the great Mick McKenzie

Last weekend TT instructors Scott Kraut, Mike Stothers, Joe Brown, and Nick Martin headed west to the metro Des Moines area for a Tower Ladder Operations course with the Johnston Fire Department.  The two-day program brought attendees from all over Polk County to talk about truck work and the capabilities of various apparatus.  All kinds of topics were covered, from forcible entry to ventilation to designing riding assignments.  Sunday brought 40 students and 4 different styles of aerial apparatus for an awesome day of hands-on training at a great acquired building.

Click here for more photos…

One of the goals for the weekend was to allow attendees to work with and understand the various capabilities of different aerial apparatus.  While many departments only own one style of truck, it’s imperative that departments understand the capabilities and limitations of any style of aerial apparatus that might respond into their town. Rear-mount, mid-mount, tiller, tower, aerial – they all have specifics as to their positioning needs and use in various scenarios.  The time to find those things out is NOT the fireground – if you don’t know these things in advance, you can’t POSSIBLY put the rig to the best use when it gets to your fire! It was great to work with a forward-thinking, pro-active group of enthusiastic firefighters.  Thanks to the firefighters of Polk County for your hospitality and we’ll look forward to seeing you again!


Driving the Tower for a room off

Story from

Shortly before 1900 hrs units were alerted for a reported apartment fire with people trapped on the 3rd floor at 6814 Central Ave. in Seat Pleasant. Tower Ladder 33 responded as the 2nd due special service with 5 volunteers. The Engine and Rescue Squad from 8 (Seat Pleasant) arrived to find a 3 story in the front 4 stories in the rear garden apartment with smoke showing. As the crews made their way inside they found a room off in an apartment on the 2nd floor with heavy smoke conditions on the 3rd floor. Tower Ladder 33 arrived and took a position on the front of the building and was assigned to conduct a rapid primary search of the top floor for the reported victims. The outside team threw ladders as Engine 371 (Ritchie) had one occupant shelter in place on a rear balcony. The fire was quickly knocked down and all searches proved negative. The Tower crew ventilated the building and the assignment was scaled back to 2 and 2. The Tower crew returned to service within an hour.

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