Written by Cadet Carbajal
OCRFA, Battalion 50, Charlie Company, Squad 5, s3
Wednesday September 26, 2018
The day started at 0630 for Battalion 50 as cadets arrived on academy grounds to stage gear in front of the apparatus bay. At 0645, two cadets yelled “colors” and everyone stopped silently to stand at attention as the United States and California flags were being raised. We were all patiently waiting at staging for our officers to come back from their meeting and brief us on what we had to set up for the day.
This day was going to be different because we were being tested on the hose lays that we had been practicing all month. These included: extending an attack line, replacing a burst hose line, setting up a ground monitor, setting up and tying down a hose line to a ladder, and finally throwing ladders. To prepare, we began setting up various stations, with one group (or company) assigned to a station. The company I’m a part of, Charlie, set up the portable monitor station.
At 0740 we came together as one battalion at staging to don our PPE/SCBA. We attempted to do this as quickly as possible, per usual, with a primary goal of under two minutes. When we were done, Captain Crudo quickly briefed us on what would be happening and how things needed to be done. We were then ready to hit our first stations.Charlie company was split into squads (5 and 6) at two different test stations—one consisting of extending an attack line with Engineer Rivera, from Los Angeles City Fire Department, and the other of replacing a burst hose line with Firefighter Balandran, also from Los Angeles City Fire Department. The objective of the first station was to complete a series of tasks that are performed as follows: pull 100 feet of hose from the engine, use a hose clamp to stop the flow of water, then add an additional 50 feet to extend the line. The objective of the second station was to perform the appropriate actions in response to a simulated hose burst, which meant replacing it with an additional 100 feet of hose and using a hose clamp to stop the flow of water.
1030 came around quickly and Charlie Company had just finished our first two stations. We ran up to Bleve Ave for our next two stations. Portable ground monitor was run by Captain Jackson from Los Angeles City Fire Department and operating a charged hose line from a ladder was proctored by Captain Jacalone, retired Los Angeles City Fire Department. At portable monitor, three people participated.
The firefighter pulled 4 inch supply line, the captain retrieved the monitor, spanners, striking tool and a double male fitting, and the engineer set up for water. At the hose and ladder station with Captain Jacalone we deployed 150 ft. of hose, set two coupling at the base of the ladder, climbed up the ladder with the nozzle draped behind our back, locked into the ladder at an appropriate height, tied the correct knot to secure the hose, called for water and operated the charged line from the ladder. We were at this station until approximately 1200.
We all met at staging at 1205 and were released to lunch by our battalion officer Johns. We were given instruction to meet back in the breezeway at 1250 and be ready to go to our next station at 1300.
Charlie Company’s next station was restoring and repurposing a Ford F250 back to life, led by retired Ventura County Fire Department Captain Kromka. We sanded the truck, re-stained the wood rack, and painted anything that needed it. The truck will be converted to a Type VI pumper for future battalions to use. This was a great experience. We all had a great time bringing the truck back to life.
Charlie’s last station started at 1440. It was time to throw ladders at the infamous Ladder Land ran by Engineer Barnes and Firefighter Thompson, both from Oxnard Fire Department. While there, we had to practice our single 14 ft., single 24 ft. and two-person 24 ft. throws. We also needed to ensure we had all of our ladder commands and techniques dialed in for tomorrow’s ladder test. This went on for more than hour until we stopped at 1600.
At 1600 it was time for the TOC (the Tournament of Champions). The Tournament of Champions is an academy known event, consisting of eight teams with two teams representing each company. The objective of the TOC is to see who can put up their ladder the most efficiently, within the least amount of time, without violating safety guidelines. Everyone in the tournament worked furiously, but in the end there could only be one winner. This semester, the victors of the TOC were Cadet Canales and Cadet Fricke from the Delta Company.
1700 came around and we all quickly cleaned up and broke down the drills and stations. We wiped down all the engines and waited at staging to be released. Two cadets broke away from the battalion to do colors. Finally, we had a quick summary of how the day went and were dismissed by battalion officer Johns, calling it a day.
“ Make each day your masterpiece “ – John Wooden