The Volunteer Firefighter Certification class is nearly halfway over this month. The month of May saw students working hard at the site of a previous structure fire in 2011. The owner of the structure allowed us the use of the undamaged portions of the home for training and simulation. Students were required to conduct primary and secondary searches of the home. Students were also allowed to function as members of the RIT team when “problems” were encountered. The students and instructors had a great time and we will likely be doing this again in the next few weeks to prepare students for the “what ifs” they may encounter out there in the real world.
Block I of the current volunteer firefighter certification class has been completed and students are awaiting their test scores. Students completed their most recent skill night on SCBAs and confined spaces. Students practiced various techniques and were able to work in a mock up thanks to Captain Larkin from Livingston Fire. Block II is about to get underway and we are all excited to see what becomes of this group of new firefighters.
The Sumter County Volunteer Firefighters Association sponsored Got Big Water Seminar was held this weekend in South Sumter. Members and apparatus from the Boyd, Coatopa-Dug Hill, Cuba, Siloam, Ward, and Whitfield stations participated in the two day even that is aimed at training firefighters to use their tankers effectively and to deliver big water to remote areas of the county. This event was a huge success and will most certainly be done again in the future. There will be much more coming out on this event in the near future, but for now we believe that Mark Davis, one of the instructors from this weekend and founder of GBW, says it best.
We had a great weekend (March 17/18) with the folks from the South Sumter Fire Battalion in Sumter County, Alabama. The Sumter County Vol Firefighters Association hosted one of our 2-day, Rural Water Supply Operations Seminars. Members from the Cuba, Ward, Siloam, Boyd, Coatopa-Dug Hill, and Whitfield FDs attended. The weekend was full of learning about and reviewing the basics of hauling water to fight fires. Saturday started off with a few hours of classroom work covering fire flow demand, the different types of water hauling rigs, their modes of operation, and fill site and dump site operations. Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning were spent practicing the set-up of fill sites and dump sites and then Sunday afternoon culminated the seminar with the traditional, 2-hour ISO tanker shuttle drill. The folks did a great job hauling water during the 2-hour drill and sustained an average flow of around 575 gpm during the event. At the peak of the drill, the crews maintained 800 gpm for almost an hour. A few photos are posted below with a more complete summary to follow in a week or so.
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For several years now the South Sumter Fire Battalion has been the home of a pilot program for certification of Alabama Volunteer Firefighters. It appears that this may well be the last class that goes through this local program before the “online” or “hybrid” model goes statewide. This program has been the product of many hours of hard work and collaboration among the instructors and Chief Vaughan. Further, this program would not have been possible without the input and blessing of AFC Executive Director Alan Rice and Central Region Coordinator Larry Jarvis. This program has already certified some excellent firefighters and it is hoped that this model will allow the certification numbers in the state of Alabama to exceed the national average and climb to the top of the pack!
In addition to the required skills, we like to introduce candidates to other skills (including those used later in the course) early and often. Tuesday night of this week saw some candidates touch turnout gear and SCBAs for the first time. Candidates were broken into groups and put through their paces in a self coaching fashion. Before the night was over nearly all had completed the required skills. Thursday night brought several of their skills together as well as placing and additional burden on the candidate by placing them in a search pattern on air. Exercises like this prove that we have an exceptional group of young people interested in joining the fire service in Sumter County. There is no doubt that when these guys graduate the communities they represent will be getting some of the best firefighters the area has to offer.
Candidates practicing their skills on Tuesday Night.
Chief Vaughan discussing the drill before the class started on Thursday.
Livingston Lt. Ronnie Sharp assisting a member of his department prepare.
On Saturday, September 17th, all South Sumter Departments met in Whitfield for a tanker and water supply drill. We have already released the videos from the fill site and some of the details about the drill. It took a while, but we got the video from the drop site and the pumper put together so here they are. This drill will be set up again in the next month or so and we hope this spring to have the crew from GBW to come down and teach their signature class in the area. As soon as the date is known we will release the information.
Whitfield Fire hosted the South Sumter Battalion training session for the month of September this past weekend. Tankers from Siloam, Ward, and Whitfield were used in a drafting and tanker shuttle drill that will be repeated time and again in the future. This is the first such drill of its type that has been conducted since the tankers have been placed in service in the South Sumter area. Saturday’s drill involved the use of a static water source to keep the engine at the drop site supplied with water. After some initial adjustments the tankers arrived on scene in a simulated delay (to allow for travel time) and kept the engine supplied and the water that was delivered was pumped through three handlines. At times the tankers would have to wait until the tank would drop low enough to take the water they had on board. The chief officers from the departments involved agree that there were some mistakes, but nothing major or critical. Adjustments will be made in the operation and the drill will be held again in about six weeks. Below are a few videos shot by Ward Asst. Chief Bragg as he and members from the Kinterbish Fire Department were manning the fill site on County Road 42.
Whitfield Tanker arriving at the fill site.
Siloam Tanker arriving at the fill site.
Special thanks to Whitfield for hosting and providing a place to eat as well as food and coffee. Also, a special thanks to Mr. Freddie, Ward VFD, for providing the chili.
South Sumter Firefighters attended a Driver Training/EVOC program tonight. The driving portion of the course is going to held at Cuba on Saturday morning. Belmont McDowell Firefighter/EMR Kayla Smith served as primary instructor and was assisted by her husband Belmont-McDowell Chief Josh Smith. The course is part of the South Sumter groups annual training plan.
Firefighter Smith instructing the class.
Chief Smith providing instruction.
Members from all South Sumter Departments assembled at the Ward Fire Department on Saturday, August 18th for drop tank and draft training. All departments in the area are gearing up for a tanker shuttle drill on September 17th at the Whitfield Fire Station. The concept of a tanker task force and its associated practices and purposes have been the topic of several training sessions for the past few months in anticipation of this drill. Members present received some hands on time with the equipment used and the methods used on the apparatus to draw water from drop tanks. Here are a few pictures from that warm Saturday morning.
Members setting up the drop tank off the Siloam Tanker.
Chief Pendergrass instructs the class.
Engineer Scrivner and Firefighter Odom prepare the hard suction for use with the drop tank.
Ward Asst. Chief Bragg instructs the class on how to properly hook up the equipment. Bragg and several other South Sumter Members attended to the Rural Water Supply class the previous weekend that was put on by the Central Alabama Fire Attack Organization.
Members put the drop tank back on the tanker once the water has been pumped out.
The Chiefs of the South Sumter Fire Departments met to prepare a training calendar for the next three months. August opened with Cuba Fire Department’s monthly meeting where some new members were put on the equipment and given a little time getting the feet “wet” so to speak. While all new firefighters are slated to start a new 160 class in the fall of the year, it was decided that it never hurts to get started early with the training.
Engineer Scrivner put new members through the operation of the engines.
Chief Vaughan explains the combination nozzle to Probationary Firefighter Mullanex.
Probationary Firefighter/EMT Haynes goes through the same training evolution.