Academy Blog Series - Battalion 42

Week 4  Hose, Ladders, SCBA, Electrical, Tools Aloft, Pnuematic Hydraulic, FD Ops

Monday came in hard this week, as the Battalion came together to offer community service over the weekend by assisting with a fundraising 5K run.  The event was extremely successful. Thank You, 42!  Your efforts were truly recognized and highly appreciated.

Forward and reverse hose lays practice continued throughout each day of drills this week.  A rotation through each of the two stations had the cadets performing multiple rounds of hose lay evolutions while serving in different assignments with each round.  Every cadet is responsible for functioning in each of the four hose lay assignments on the engine.  Those assignments include deploying 200' of 2 1/2" attack line or footing a 4" discharge line then signaling the engine to "take off" or attaching a metal appliance to the hose to control water movement within the lines, or returning to the engine and riding it to the hydrant to assist with hose connections at the pump panel.  On this first day back, companies performed these tasks in turnout pants and boots, brush coats and helmets.

SCBA training was also expanded on Monday.  Engines 5 & 38 were positioned in a manner to allow cadets to act as if they had just arrived to a structure fire.  Crews would dismount the engine in full turnouts, retrieve and don their breathing apparatus, extend a 1 1/2" attack line to the objective, foot the bale, utilize an HT to call for water, don their face piece, go on air, check their crew mate to ensure full protection of body surfaces, bleed the nozzle and advance the hose and nozzle as a team through the simulated doorway.

Monday's fourth station consisted of lessons in the use of electrical power tools.  Companies were taught how to operate a variety of saws by performing cuts on metal and wood to prepare for a Battalion assignment scheduled later this month.  Amperage, circuits, generator use and loading were also part of this station.  Cadets were challenged to utilize the proper cords for powering multiple pieces of equipment, such scene lighting, blowers and saws simultaneously while adhering to the load guidelines of the given generator.

Tuesday started with a 4 mile formation run.  Battalion cadence could be heard from a distance as the group chanted to the rhythm and called out the next motivator.  After workout companies set up drill stations for yet another busy day of performing in turnouts, as the cadets put it, "a 3 t-shirt day".

The Burn Prop was the ladder focus of the day as crews used a 2 person techniques to place 24' extension ladders.  Cadets voiced commands and worked through the steps repeatedly to reinforce muscle memory, synchronization and clear communication.  Balancing the ladder as it was fully extended turned into a challenge for a number of cadets as afternoon winds picked up.

A Tools Aloft station was introduced.  The hazardous materials prop area served as the spot for tying and hoisting.  Cadets learned basic knots and ties for securing equipment prior to being lifted to above ground levels.  Dry attack lines, SCBA bottles, medical equipment, power saws and such were all hauled up to the prop's cat walk.

Tuesday ended with a comprehensive fill-in exam forcing cadets to draw from their memory and daily drill experience to list each of the commands verbalized for both the 14' roof ladder and 24' extension ladder raising and lowering maneuvers.

Ladder training was expanded on Wednesday.  The Burn Prop again served as the two story structure for 24' extension ladder placement.  Raising and lowering techniques continued to improve as cadets took advantage of the practice time.  This round of training challenged the cadets further by teaching them proper climbing methods using organized and coordinated movements of both hands and feet during the climb, a process that may or may not come naturally.

Cadets were further challenged to overcome their fear of heights and have faith in their crew's ability.  Each cadet was tasked with climbing the ladder, maneuvering their legs to lock into the ladder as their crew member stood at the ladder's base and held it steady.  Once locked in, the cadet was to lean back while looking to the sky, a true confidence builder.

A pneumatic and hydraulic tool station was also scheduled for Wednesday.  At this station, companies learned the strength of simple blocks of wood and how placing these blocks in given patterns can support an object weighing thousands of pounds.  Air bags, bottle jacks and long pry bars for heavy lifting were also utilized.  Crews were tasked with the assignment of lifting and cribbing a four thousand pound piece of concrete.  Teamwork played a key role.

The morning of 9/11, the Battalion completed a 4.5 mile formation run then met at the knot rack for tying practice.  Times and performance continues to improve on a number of required knots such as the family of eights, bowlines, overhands, the clove hitch, butterfly and the becket bend. 

A morning briefing with all officers and drivers to the 9/11 ceremony preceded the group's departure to the college main campus.  The Battalion traveled as if it were part of a strike team headed to a large scale incident.  Travel orders were issued with communications and medical plans attached.  Companies were to organize themselves in the designated vehicles, position the vehicle as instructed and travel in a particular order while utilizing HTs as the primary mode of contact.  Upon arrival to the college the Battalion came together, marched to their staging area then stood at attention during their pre-ceremony inspection.

Cadet Giovinazzo did an outstanding job of leading the march and placing the group for the ceremony.  He also served as a guest speaker, talking about the influence 9/11 events made on him and his decisions to serve in the military and fire service. Thank you Cadet Giovinazzo for your dedicated performance.  We are honored to have you as one of our academy leaders. 

Immediately following release from the ceremony, crews departed for the academy.  A leadership meeting for current and former officers was scheduled to take place during lunch. The officers were tasked with formulating an objective plan to overcome Battalion training challenges as Chief Warner and Captain Crudo observed to ensure guidelines were properly followed.  The group made difficult decisions and will prove successful without a doubt.

The week ended with lessons in call types, dispatch response levels and the beginnings of on-scene reports and apparatus placement of initial responding companies. Tactics and strategies will continue to be covered and expanded on as the semester moves forward.

Prior to dismissal on the 11th, the Battalion posed for several photos.  A Battalion Calendar containing pictures of the group as a whole, companies and squads will be showcased.  The calendar will serve as a fundraiser to help off set the cost of the cadet certification fees.  So have your dollars ready to support the effort because I'm convinced the calendar will be a huge success.

Great job 42, you are coming through!

Captain Crudo