Saturday, May 7, 2011
On Sunday May 1st, tones began dropping to activate the Delaware County Task Force for the annual Southeastern Pennsylvania Task Force mobilization drill. The DelCo companies, staffed with firefighters who are required to be trained to a highlevel in several specialties, loaded up and made the response to the rendezvous point at the rear of the Marple Crossroads shopping center. The Task Force this year consisted of Engine Companies from Broomall (53-2), Garrettford-Drexel Hill (20-2), Springfield (44-4), Holmes (Squrt 43), and Media (23-2). The Ladder Companies were supplied by Brookline (Ladder 35) and Garden City (65-5), with Manoa (Squad 56)once again being designated as the Squad Engine.
Once all the apparatus were staged and briefed, the Task Force began the trip up the Blue Route to the Doylestown staging site. The caravan turned many heads on the way up, with most drivers clearly surprised to see the long line of fire apparatus occupying the right lane. Upon arrival at the Bucks County Communications Center, the units from each county were broken down and built back up, integrating trucks from each one to create "Strike Teams" to be dispatched to the exercises. Manoa was then placed into the "Station 19" Strike Team with Broomall's Engine 53-2, Lamott Fire Company Engine 2-1 (MontCo), Good Will Fire Company Engine 52-1 (ChesCo), and Philadelphia Fire Department Tiller Ladder 3.
The first scenario Station 19's crews were dispatched to was a Building Fire with Entrapment at a local VoTech School. Squad 56 took the role of the "4th Due" Engine Company. Upon our arrival, all crews were already working together to locate the seat of the fire and rescue the several trapped victims inside the building. The Squad's crew deployed the apartment pack and hooked up to a gated wye that was already in service. The crew entered through the kitchen and stood by as a back up line to protect the crews already inside. Once the rescues were complete, the Squad assisted with ventilation and restoring equipment.
After a quick trip back to staging to grab some food and water, Station 19 was dispatched to a report of a large gasoline fire with exposure to a loaded rail car. This time, the boys of Squad 56 got to take the lead, arriving first due. Upon arrival, it was learned that there was a downed civilian in close proximity to the fire.The Squad's crew split up and immediately got a handline in service and pushed the fire back, while the remainder of the crew went in and grabbed the victim. After pulling out to regroup, Broomall's engine crew grabbed the nozzle and got a knock on the fire, while Philly Ladder 3 and Lamott Engine 2-1 put master streams in service to cool the rail car.
After repacking, it was a quick trip back to staging to rejoin the DelCo Task Force, then the companies returned to Marple Crossroads for the debrief. All in all, the day turned out to be a success, and alot of information was gathered about what went right, and what could be done better next time. We would like to thank Bucks County officials for the hard work they put into planning and executing the drill, and we can't wait to see what MontCo has in store for us next year.