During the fourth week of each month, the fire department holds its Driver/Operator drill. This is an opportunity for department members to train on different situations they may face as a driver or operator of the department’s vehicles, or apparatus. Participating in regular departmental trainings allows the department to review and prepare for a variety of situations they may encounter throughout the year.
March's driver/operator drill focused on two main topics: “making a hydrant” and grass/brush fire response.
The process of making a hydrant, or establishing a hydrant connection, involves connecting a hose (the supply line) from the hydrant to the pump panel on the engine. Additional hoses (the attack lines) that are connected to the engine are then used by firefighters to extinguish the fire. Until the hydrant connection is established, firefighters are able to use water from the engine’s tank, which holds 750 gallons; however, depending on the severity of the fire, this initial water source may not last very long.
Training on grass/brush fire response includes familiarization with, and appropriate use of, the tenders (trucks specifically designed to carry water and used in areas where hydrants are not accessible) as well as specialized equipment, such as drip torches. While it may seem counterintuitive to use a torch in a situation where there is already a fire, they are used to pre-burn sections of grass ahead of the existing fire; once the fire reaches the pre-burned grass, thereby running out of fuel, it is easier to contain and extinguish. Topics such as weather conditions and, of course, firefighter safety are also covered in-depth during this type of training.