Firefighters from the West Grove Fire Company received hands on and classroom instruction from retired New York City firefighter and instructor Bob Pressler recently, focusing on truck company operations.
Bob Pressler has been involved in the fire service for more than 40 years and is a retired Lieutenant from FDNY. Previous to FDNY, Bob was a member of both combination and volunteer departments. Bob currently serves as the Chief of the Montgomery, NY, Fire Department.
Each piece of apparatus (and it's crew) have specific tasks assigned at fire situations. Members of the truck (or ladder crew) are often tasked with roof ventilation, door entry and search and rescue operations (while engine crews have fire suppression tasks). At recent classes, help over 8 hours, WGFC firefighters received lecture and hands on training from this veteran on various techniques.
On Sunday, December 3, WGFC members held a six hour hands on training session. Students were able to practice making entry to locked interior and exterior doors, while also getting practical advice on the signs and signals presented by various fire situations, and door lock presentations. Students were able to leverage a modern training simulator, practicing the use of various firefighting hand tools to breach locked doors.
Students then moved to the roof of the WGFC fire simulation training trailer, a 40 foot customized classroom. The trailer has set ups for live fire training for basement, residential and roof situations. The trailer also has a raised roof evolution, allowing for hands on use of powered saws and axes so firefighters can experience cutting roof materials high up on slanted roofs. Pressler provided guidance on proper saw operation, and how to "sense" how the saw cuts through various roofing materials and how to safely operate at heights.
The training then moved on the road, focusing on ladder and engine apparatus placement at various locations. Crews visited the Ovations development in Penn Township and explored ladder placement on that development's narrow streets and houses built close to the roadway. Then Engine 3 and Ladder 22 traveled to Radence Lane in London Grove Township to look at placement on wider streets with high pitched roof houses. While enroute there, crews handled a car-into-a-tree auto accident, assisted by the ambulance crew and PA State Police.
Crews also went into a development near the AG Schools. On Remington Way, crews discussed rescue techniques on single family homes, talked through minimum staffing assignments for first in engines and ladders, and considered various rescue scenarios. Finally, the hands on class finished up at the St. Mary's Church, considering ladder and engine assignments for a larger structure with a sprinkler and standpipe system.
The West Grove Fire Company often calls upon expert outside instructors to provide an experienced training perspective. Bob's work with the NYC fire department gives him invaluable experiences to share, and his continuing work as a volunteer firefighter in Troy, NY and with the Christiana Fire Company in Delaware keeps him in the brotherhood of firefighters. The WGFC is also grateful to the residents in all locations for cooperating with this training evolution, along with Station 8, Keystone Valley Fire Company, for use of their door training simulator.