BUCKHANNON – Several fire departments converged at the Upshur Cinema 6 parking lot for training June 16.
Buckhannon Fire Chief J.B. Kimble said the departments were learning how to utilize a fire hydrant and undergoing driving courses.
“We’re going over the basics of dressing a fire hydrant because hydrants can flow more water than our pumpers can, so we might as well take them to the max and put fittings on them so we can add additional engines, if need be – if it’s that large of a fire,” Kimble said.
Kimble said rural departments don’t typically utilize hydrants as often as city fire departments.
“We’re teaching most of the departments around us because they rely on tanker waters. They’re not used to hooking up to fire hydrants and having a massive amount of water coming at them to be able to manage or using fire hydrants,” Kimble said.
The reason rural departments don’t hook up to fire hydrants as often is due to their coverage area, which is less populated, more remote and typically doesn’t include as many larger industrial or commercial structures, Kimble said.
“Very few times do rural fire departments get to use big appliances for big fires because normally it’s residential fires [they fight] so it’s smaller amounts of water,” Kimble said. “When they’re mutual-aiding us in town, we have larger buildings we need to be able to flow more water to, so we’re just trying to help them learn more about the concept of flowing big water.”
During the June 16 training, the Buckhannon Fire Department was training with Adrian Volunteer Fire Department and Ellamore Volunteer Fire Departments. Three weeks prior, they trained with the Banks Volunteer Fire Department, which covers the Rock Cave area and Washington District Volunteer Fire Company, whose first due is located in the Tallmansville area.
“In a couple weeks, we’ll do Selbyville and Warren District – that way we’re not leaving any parts of the county really uncovered,” Kimble said. “We’re gathering up everybody, and plus, this is a good time for us to get together and talk about equipment they may need for bigger fires or things that they can suggest to us [for when we] come into their districts.”
Several firefighters were also completing several driving maneuvers in the ladder truck before they are permitted to drive.
“They have to go through a diminishing alley, they have to back through serpentines, and they have to do a docking maneuver, like backing into the fire station,” Kimble said. “Plus, it’s 37-hour course. It’s not like it’s just driving; they have to learn to operate every piece of equipment on the truck and they have to know what its capabilities are.
“It’s a national professional board certification that our truck operators have to achieve because that’s a $1.2 million piece of equipment, and you just don’t want anybody driving it, Kimble added.