“First-In” Company Operations: West Bradford, PA

This past weekend TT Instructors Nick Martin (DCFD E-11), Chris Birch (DCFD R-1), and Danny Doyle (PBF T-8) traveled to West Chester, PA to train with the West Bradford Fire Company.  

The topic of this 16-hour class was “First-In Company Operations”.  The course is designed for those departments whose initial operations may have limited equipment and manpower – yet still must accomplish essential fireground operations.

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Class began on Saturday morning with a few hours of classroom discussion supported by video & photo critiques and personal experiences.  Each of the instructors discussed their personal backgrounds in smaller departments with limited resources.  After lunch, we headed to the abandoned Embreeville State Hospital for practical evolutions.

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Hands-on work was done at an abandoned state mental institution.  This was the weirdest place we’ve been for training, but aside from it’s haunted past, had some great opportunities for engine & truck work.  In totally unrelated news, all of Chris Birch’s hair has fallen out and Danny suddenly lost 75lbs.

Students were divided into groups and rotated through:

  • Stretching & advancing attack lines.
  • Portable ladders and VES.
  • Forcible entry on inward & outward doors with some thru-the-lock.
  • Extending long-length attack lines.

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All evolutions were focused on operating with minimal manpower of 2-3 firefighters and limited equipment.  On Sunday afternoon we ran a few “box alarm drills”, where we gave the students a fire scenario.  Students were assigned to companies and operated the way they would at a real structural fire, testing out their new skills.

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Even though several of the students in the class had yet to fully complete their basic firefighter training, everyone showed incredible skill and successfully performed varsity level firefighting tasks.  Thanks to the members & officers of the West Bradford Fire Company for making a great weekend, hopefully we’ll see you soon!

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