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Creating a Crisis: Branford Fire Department Training

Last Friday, Branford fire crews hoisted a victim down their new training tower as part of FEMA-grant funded exercise.

They’ve only been in a few months, but crews are already putting the new facility to work. Last Friday, Division One led by Deputy Chief Tom Mahoney, practiced rescuing a cardiac arrest victim from the top of the new training tower. The exercise, part of the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant, was overseen by Training Captain Rick Hart.

“I think the training allowed them to utilize their newly learned skills in as close-to-real-life situation as possible,” commented Assistant Fire Chief Shaun Heffernan.

The located near the new facility’s apparatus bay, allows crews to simulate ladder rescue as well as rooftop rescue like the one performed on Friday.

While Patch was visiting the department, a real call came in where a construction worker had fallen about 50 feet and injured his leg; Heffernan said, training like the type crews were doing last week, is crucial for situations like that. Firefighters, he said, can sit in a classroom all day, but simulating what can happen in the field, in real life, is the most valuable training the department can offer. (The victim of the real fall is expected to recover).

This past spring, Branford and North Branford fire departments teamed up to practice a at North Farms Park as part of the FEMA grant training. Crews will have one more training session as part of the grant, which they will learn rescue from confined space. There are many places in town where confined space rescue would be needed like at the town wastewater treatment plant and the Tilcon barges.  

In the past, Branford would send crews to a to practice rescue; now the new facility allows them to do a lot on site in town. While they won’t be able to actually burn in the new training tower, it can take on 250 gallons of water per minute so they can simulate fire extinguishing. The tower is also built for crews to make ladder and rooftop rescues.

“That was the goal when this building was designed,” said Heffernan, “to create real-life situations like this one.”

BILL JOHNSON August 13, 2012 at 01:45 PM
i am glad to see that for $12 million they have a nice place to play,maybe they can bring some paint ball guns and really have fun.new haven is way to far to go for training.great job taxpayers.
Ian August 13, 2012 at 02:52 PM
You should post your address with that comment so the FD knows they don't need to respond there for any medical or fire emergencies. Sounds like you can take care of yourself if you don't need these trained professionals! It's amazing how people will complain about something like this, just wait until one of your loved ones has a medical emergency and there is a paramedic ambulance there in under 5 minutes. That's something many towns can't provide and it is certainly well worth it.
Renee August 13, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Good one Bill! I agree.. i think that the new firehouse overkill. Sad how tax dollars can go to building a mansion of a firehouse but we dont have music or second language budgets for our kids in school
bball fan August 13, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Bill, you would be the first person to sue if you or a family member needed help, but couldn't get it because they weren't properly trained. And you'd also complain about them being out of town training, if something major happened. NExt time, just say thank you when you see a fireman or cop.
Ashley August 18, 2012 at 01:19 AM
That is sad, Renee. However, I find it more disheartening the lack of knowledge the general public has regarding the efforts of the Branford Fire Department to continuously improve their skills. Bill's ignorant approach to referring to the firefighter's training as 'play' only further validates for me the pure stupidity that lives in this town.

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