GLOUCESTER — Chief Eric Smith is pleased to share the Gloucester Fire Department took part in a rapid intervention team training last week.
All personnel at the department participated in the two-day training, which was spread out across three groups last week. Training began on Monday, May 17, and concluded Saturday, May 22. The course provides attendees with the training needed to understand and implement rapid intervention — which is self-survival and safe extrication of a firefighter who may be lost, disoriented, injured or trapped at an emergency scene.
“These skills are absolutely imperative to what we do and ensuring our members are prepared to respond safely and effectively,” Chief Smith said. “This is all possible because of a grant we received from FEMA, and we’re deeply thankful for their support. Training is absolutely essential to ensuring a department remains up-to-date in the best practices and prepared to offer the highest quality services to the community, and we prioritize these opportunities for staff to meet those standards.”
The training is conducted by the Department of Fire Services’ Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, and is being funded by a $424,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant the department received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2019. FEMA grants have helped fund several training programs for the department in recent years, including Emergency Vehicle Operator, Pump Operator. Aerial Operator, Fire Instructor I and Fire Officer I, II and III courses.
Through the training, firefighters are taught to recognize and implement rapid intervention skills, including self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) harness conversion; proper use of the rapid intervention team pack; one- and two-person drags; techniques for vertical extrication of a downed firefighter by way of stairs, upper floor windows with rope or ladder or basement windows; locating a firefighter using the personal alert safety system device; and the course also gives an overview of the theory of rapid intervention teams.
During the training, students are required to demonstrate all of the skills they have been taught through the course. Full National Fire Protection Association personal protective equipment is also required, which includes a complete SCBA with at least two air bottles. Students must also bring PPE including their helmet, hood, coat, gloves, bunker pants, and boots, all including a compliance label. Students are also advised prior to the course to hydrate well in advance due to the weight of the equipment as well as physically demanding requirements of the training.
For the latest updates, visit the department’s website at gloucesterfd.com.