WFD holds fire engine driver safety training


WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE — Benjamin Franklin founded the first volunteer fire company in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1736. This fire company was the first of its kind in the U.S. Soon after, more and more fire companies sprung up all over the country.

In current times, the training and certification standards have been enhanced, increased, and modified for safety in all areas of service.

Saturday, the Washington Fire Department was training at the shopping center on Columbus Avenue for certifications on fire truck driving and maneuverability. That’s why all the orange cones were seen set up in patterns.

They test for depth perception, special awareness, three-point turns, driving in narrow alleys, control of the apparatus, driving around pillers and light poles, and teaching firefighters how to best use their mirrors, according to instructor Capt. Jason O’Dierno of the Washington Fire Department. There is no rear view mirror in a fire truck, so the outside mirrors are essential.

The VFIS (Volunteer Firemans Insurance Service) sets the standards and manual for ensuring the safety of all drivers for training. It is a lot different driving a 48 foot truck and a 58 foot truck around curves and though alley-ways. The course is laid out for straight line driving with backups from that position, turning curves, parallel parking, and in tight spaces like diminishing clearances.

Firefighters must be re-certified every three years, and this training is part of that re-certification process, as well as monthly training on all elements of fire control, O’Dierno said. Firefighters must drive fire engines complying with speed, local laws and safety laws, because there are legal responsibilities and risks to such driving, he said. O’Dierno said this training is to become an annual event now to keep firefighters up to date on equipment safety.

Truck 139, which carries the air tanks and equipment, the pickup truck which hauls the hazmat trailer, and Box 65 must also have certified drivers, not just the tankers and engine drivers.

O’Dierno joined the fire department in 1998 as a paid-call volunteer for two years. In 2000, he became full-time on the department and spent 12 years as a firefighter. He was then promoted to lieutenant and then captain. Next year, he will have 27 years with the department.

O’Dierno said the Washington Fire Department is accepting applications for firefighters and will be accepted until April 26. Those interested must be 18 years of age and take the civil service exam. Applications are available at the fire station on Market Street. The fire department has a Facebook page to follow for information as well.

No posts to display