Training Greenwich's Bravest [VIDEO]

Practicing for the real event prepares Greenwich firefighters for all emergencies.


*Editor's note: 'Behind the Scenes' is a new, periodic feature of Greenwich Patch that provides readers insight of what it's like to work in a particular profession—the training necessary to do that job, whether it's a chef, a barber, a photographer, or in today's column, a Greenwich firefighter.

Rolling up to a crash scene, there's plenty for Greenwich firefighters to do.

Besides making the scene safe for emergency workers to assist accident victims, they have to deal with the rubber-neckers—drivers who slow down to gawk at what's slowed their travel, and dealing with the situation at hand.

What those rubber-neckers may not realize is that there are hundreds of hours of training that Greenwich firefighters take which helps create a cohesive, team approach to their jobs.

There are weekly training sessions ranging from cold water rescue and firefighting to extrication of victims from crumbled vehicles. The training is done in all types of weather. So the chances are pretty good that if you drive by one Bruce Park ponds and see a knot of firefighters gathered on the shoreline, they're conducting a water rescue drill.

One recent sunny winter afternoon, firefighters spent hours practicing extrication of accident victims from a car that hit by a school bus and wedged against a fence at the department's training tower on North Street.

They were able to deconstruct the bus ... literally. Using various saws, hammers and the Jaws of Life, they cut away seats, window frames, body panels and window panes. For the car wedged against the fence, there was practice using large inflatable pillows and wooden blocks to raise the vehicle off the hypothetical patient trapped beneath it.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Keith Millette, the exercise provided numerous opportunities for the firefighters. "In a controlled setting they can see how the bus is built—how they can use the tools to gain access to victims," Millette said. He said the training sessions allow firefighters to methodically rehearse how to react in various emergency situations without the pressures of an actual emergency.


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