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Riding in a car fire caused the child in me
Although I am past decades the wonders of childhood, my journey as expected in a fire truck was exciting.
Dressed in full fireman's outfit, well tied in the back seat of the cab, I was starry-eyed and happy that we found during our last class in the Avon Fire Volunteer Fire Department Citizens Academy. I was melancholy, knowing that this was the end of a wonderful adventure of eight weeks.
It was a great view, looking down on the roads of Avon as we head to the large amount of public parking Avon Works to simulate the response to a serious car accident. I had no idea what to expect and anticipation made my heart race.
I was wondering about my level of participation, which was still recovering from a sprained left wrist when unfortunately fell off the bike in a parking lot on the day of the mother even before hitting the road.
When we arrived we were greeted by several firefighters who were there to assist and ensure our security. Even Firefighters James Dipace fell to view our progress and chat.
The fire department established a number of rescue tools for our use - many very disheartening to see up close - along with a battered Pontiac Grand Prix that was provided by Farmington Motor Sports Inc. The auto repair shop had removed the gas and liquid battery and cutting power lines of the car.
Our first task was to place yellow blocks behind the tires and the vehicle body to stabilize the car to "make the scene safe", according to Avon Fire Chief Michael Trick, who led the class.
Then she learned different techniques to break the windows of the car and deal with tempered glass. I have a tool to manage irregular thin knife like the firefighters use to remove the windshield.
At first I was shy with my trick to cutting movements joked that this was the perfect time to get out of personal frustrations. Funny thing, I suddenly got a burst of energy and began to cut with great intensity. My classmates laughed.
Less than 10 minutes in the drill, we had to take a break in the foggy morning, low of 70 because I felt sick in my heavy equipment. We are instructed to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to open our coats thick, multilayered cool. It really made me wonder how difficult it must be conditions for firefighters entering a burning building in summer, 90 degree weather.
With methodical efficiency, trick and his team had each of us taking turns with a large vice and other unusual instruments to remove the doors. I enjoyed cutting the last cord before they pulled the driver's door.
With the assistance of Neil Pendergast of the University of Connecticut Fire Department, we learned to remove a person from a vehicle. With a little fire to the head, helped us to advance to Jen Reeser, a brave volunteer firefighter Avon, car and on a stretcher, being sure to keep your neck and spine stabilized.
The final challenge was to cut the ceiling. The mammoth clippers, water was a bit much for me to handle, and my classmates raised the roof and placed it on the floor next to what is now a shell of a car.
Some of my colleagues and I took home a piece of the roof structure as an example of our work.
It was a job well done, except for the fact that it took us almost three hours - with several interruptions and the instruction in the middle and we realize the unique challenges that firefighters and emergency personnel off the scene of a serious accident .
The morning was covered by a return to the spray of water from a fire hose. This is a work of two people - in my case, three, as it was with one hand - but I felt empowered as I learned the proper motion to attack a fire circle with a fire hose 100 gallons of water per minute.
When we returned to the station, was exhausted. After turning my computer, saying goodbye and heading home, I took a nap for two hours in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.
Four nights later, they were invited to a graduation ceremony and delicious dinner in the company of a unit of Darling. I shared the night with my two daughters, Amanda, home after his first year in college, and Grace, a seventh grader who has heard a lot more than he cared to know about my adventures in firefighting week to week.
I must admit that made me feel proud to have seen the slide of the session and hear my name as a graduate of the academy to receive a certificate, a mug and a pen.
Avon Fire citizens' Academy has been an enlightening experience for me. I have met many types, residents brave, selfless Avon spent thousands of hours volunteering for the fire department - from the young explorers who meet weekly to train retired firefighters still help where they can .
Practical experiences were fascinating and valuable information for anyone living in a community that has a volunteer fire department, and a homeowner who is concerned about fire safety.
Although I do not think I'm suited to be a firefighter as of right, I could see at some point to help in a support role.
For now, I consider myself fortunate to have been behind the curtain. I will always be impressed with what I saw.
If you've been reading my accounts with interest, we encourage you to keep an eye out for the next meeting to be scheduled in April 2012. Better yet, you might consider being part of the Avon Fire Department.
Contact:novalglass      Released time:2011-06-02 00:37:25
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