West Grove Fire Company
West Grove Fire Company

2023 Incidents
Fire EMS
Jan 37 232
Feb 36 238
Mar 64 242
Apr 69 260
May 0 0
Jun 0 0
Jul 0 0
Aug 0 0
Sep 0 0
Oct 0 0
Nov 0 0
Dec 0 0
Total 206 972

2023 Incidents by Municipality
Franklin 11 67
London Britain 12 40
London Grove 53 194
London Derry 0 58
New London 25 97
Penn 43 357
West Grove 6 36
Mutual Aid 56 123
Total 206 972

Past Incidents
Fire EMS
2022 673 3142
2021 611 2896
2020 580 2565
2019 651 2442
2018 657 2612
2017 665 2394
2016 708 2313
2015 560 2208
2014 619 2244
2013 577 2095
2012 577 1957
2011 534 2035
2010 588 1782

Web Counters
Website Visitors
January 1, 2016
Visitors Today
May 29, 2023
WGFC and Area First Responders Drill at the AG High School
Email Print RSS Facebook Twitter RSS

March 18, 2023

The Avon Grove High School, in cooperation with the PA State Police, the West Grove Fire Company, Chester County emergency officials, and area first responders conducted a intruder incident drill on Friday.

With coordination led by the Chester County Department of Emergency Services and planning taking place over several months, the drill was designed to provide valuable side-by-side training for law enforcement, fire ,and EMS services under realistic conditions in the new high school. The drill was held on a teacher in-service day, without students present, providing a unique opportunity to involve teachers and administration so they could also exercise their roles in a potential school emergency.

Incidents in schools are an unfortunate reality of today's society and these kinds of exercises are designed to give emergency responders valuable training opportunities to advance skills in handling large volumes of patients, and conduct operations along side and in cooperation with state and local law enforcement officers. The exercise was also carefully observed by experts in emergency services, who were monitoring the drill as it unfolded, gathering feedback that will help police, fire, EMS and school district personnel gain insight and learnings that will improve emergency response should a real situation occur.

All drill participants were given a formal exercise briefing in the early morning, including discussions of safety protocols, and how operations would be monitored. The briefing was taking place as - elsewhere -- volunteers were getting moulage (makeup) designed to make victims appear realistic for drill purposes. Those volunteer victims were placed around the high school in various locations and on various floors.

More than 40 West Grove Fire Company firefighters and EMTs were then staged at the AG Intermediate School to await the start of the drill. Standing by with the WGFC were mutual aid partners including ambulances from Oxford and Avondale, and paramedics from Medic 94 and Longwood EMS. Members of the PA State Police were also staged out at the high school campus entrances awaiting the signal to begin the exercise. Members of the Chester County Department Emergency Services manned Comm 1, the county's mobile radio command center, and participated as dispatchers for the incident.

The drill scenario involved intruders on campus, and was dispatched to the State Police and fire and EMS personnel indicating multiple victims at the school. State police and municipal officers from the Southern Chester County Regional Police arrived and entered the high school to seek out suspects and neutralize the threats. Fire and emergency responders arrived at the campus, staging until the police indicated it was safe to do so.

When allowed into the scene, a fleet of fire trucks, ambulances, and medic units descended upon the high school. Utilizing training skills for such incidents, first-in EMS crews entered the building escorted by police to find and triage victims. In the parking lot, Chief 22 established a command post, delegating officers to serve in critical roles like EMS Command, Operations and Manpower. The leadership group deployed teams of EMS personnel and firefighters to assist in removing patients to triage and treatment areas established in front of the high school. Triage and transport officers in those areas made the decisions on what victims would be treated first in order of priority, and then assigning ambulances and medics to transport patients to area hospitals (for the purpose of this drill, patients were transported to the WGFC New London Station which served as the destination hospital). During the incident, WGFC and area fire police handled traffic and secured the entrances to the school.

With a building the size of the new high school, coordinating operations requires the establishment of an emergency command structure in the building. WGFC's Operations Officer (Deputy 22) established a "division" officer for each floor, as well as leaders and teams on each of the four sides of the building's exterior. The Manpower Officer (Assistant 22) tracked and accounted for all personnel committed to operations, and maintained a group of firefighters available for additional assignments. EMS Command assured the flow of patients and ambulances out of the scene as the drill unfolded.

Chief 22 led a "unified command" post, where representatives of the school district and the State Police could confer and collaborate as the drill unfolded. Such a unified command structure allows each team of leaders to focus on their unique tasks, while assuring cross- collaboration needed in a large scale incident. The unified command post also integrates with arriving emergency units, and county and local services typically responding to large-scale police, fire, and/or EMS incidents.

The drill simulated the treatment and transport of 14 patients to area hospitals, and the safe and orderly removal of staff from the building. The overall exercise lasted about 90 minutes, and was carefully observed by teams across the HS campus. After the drill, all participants had a light lunch and talked about the drill, incident and lessons learned. The WGFC and its EMS partners returned to Station 22 in West Grove for a "hot wash" debriefing session, where participants shared lessons-learned and observations.

While it is hoped that a real-life emergency like the one simulated Friday never occurs, all of the nearly 100 participants gained valuable, hands on experience working side by side under realistic conditions, part of a continuous commitment to training and being ready for anything.

The WGFC thanks the AG school district for undertaking the exercise, area first responder organizations for joining in to participate, the PA State Police for a tremendous level of participation, other regional police and emergency teams for being in the drill, area emergency management agencies like AGREM (Avon Grove Regional Emergency Management), and the Chester County Department of Emergency Services for coordination and participation.

(Thanks to the CC DES for some photos used in this story)

Units: Engine 22-1, Ladder 22, Tanker 22, Squad 22, Engine 22-2, Rescue 22, Engine 22-3, Utility 22, WGFC Fire Police, WGFC Ambulances (4)
Mutual Aid: Oxford EMS, Avondale EMS, Medic 94, Longwood EMS, PA State Police, SCC Regional Police, Comm-1, CC Dept. of Emergency Services, CC Regional Incident Support Team, Avon Grove Regional Emergency Management (AGREM), Avondale Fire Police

Add a Comment Add a Comment 0 Comment(s)

Website Designed and Hosted By: Content Proudly Maintained By: Contact Info:
Firehouse Solutions
West Grove Fire Company
PO Box 201
West Grove, PA, 19390
Emergency Dial 911
Non-Emergency: 610-869-9326
Station Fax: 610-869-4217
E-mail: info@wgfc.org
Copyright © 2023 Firehouse Solutions (A Service of Technology Reflections, Inc.)