By Peter Van Houten
Over the past year the Portland Fire Department and Bob’s Metals Inc. have partnered in creating hands-on emergency response training opportunities with simulated rescue situations created by the Bob’s Metals yard staff.
These experiences have included crash scenarios of multiple sized vehicles, enabling the fire department opportunities to test out and train on new cutting and lifting equipment to gain access to the ‘crash victim.’ The Portland Fire Department has an exceptional training facility, at Station 2, but one of the benefits in working with Bob’s Metals is dealing with the unknown. Part of the excitement is enabling our yard staff to create the scenario, and they seek to make it difficult.
This past scenario included a Honda that had lodged itself underneath a full-size garbage truck, requiring the response team to assess gaining access to the injured driver by stabilizing/lifting the garbage truck and cutting away the doors and roof of the Honda. Overall feedback from the fire department is that they like the ‘surprise’ element of the scenario, making them analyze the situation to best utilize their skills and tools to perform.
“I am very appreciative of the support that Bob’s Metals has provided station 8. As an officer, it is important for me to conduct routine drills, especially with operations that we do not perform very often, i.e. vehicle stabilization, extrication, and lifting. Furthermore, I feel it important to keep Truck 8 in our district instead of going to the other side of the city...the north end resources can be quickly depleted, so staying in district allows us to cut and run from a drill if need be.” – Lt. Justin De Ruyter
Working together these scenarios not only provide the Fire Department with a more realistic training situation, but increases the awareness of employees to our own emergency plans and working relationships with emergency personnel. A win-win example in community partnership.
Peter Van Houten is general manager of ISRI member Bob’s Metals, Inc.