Bible Hill firefighters at the ready to rescue their own

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BIBLE HILL – Six local firefighters have some additional special training under their belts, just in case it’s ever needed.

The firefighters from the Bible Hill Fire Brigade – Rob MacCormack, Joe Bisson, David Pearston, Lee Ogden, Terry Park and Justin Hingley – are all certified in and have formed a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT).

“Having this training has made us that more comfortable with what we are doing,” said MacCormack about the training that specializes in self-survival and safety of inside firefighters. “If a firefighter can’t get themselves out (of a building), there is somebody else there to help.”

The Bible Hill team is the first crew in Colchester County, however some individual firefighters from other departments have also taken the courses.

“We’re hoping to lead by example and have other departments form teams,” he said, adding other departments are able to deploy the team.

The firefighters took two training courses – an introduction to RIT and RIT advanced – last spring. The instruction was two full weekends worth, and the firefighters then began looking at what specialized equipment they would need, such as a specialized air pack.

“There’s a little bit of piece of mind now, knowing that we have a ready team to go in,” said Bisson.

Although the six firefighters are certified, they have been passing along their knowledge to their fellow members and continue their own training every month.

“It’s good training for everyone,” said Pearston. “We are able to bring back this stuff and teach everyone, especially the newer firefighters.”

“We don’t want to have to be deployed, but we are ready for if we are,” said MacCormack.

When deployed to a call, the team is there not to help fight a fire, but to keep an eye on things and make sure firefighters don’t run into any additional trouble. One of their first calls was to the Walker building fire in April 2013.

“We’ll monitor the scene and see if the conditions are changing,” said MacCormack. He added that if there are any concerns near where the firefighters are, they will work on the conditions.

“For example, if there are metal bars on windows on the side of the building where the firefighters are, we will cut those bars off just in case we need access.”

“And we’ll keep track of how many firefighters are inside and how many are out,” added Bisson.

With structure fires igniting quickly these days due to the materials used in construction, the firefighters said things could escalate quickly.

“Nowadays, structure fires are more volatile, and we are more conscientious of having that extra protection,” said Bisson.

While the team has specialized training, much of it overflows with training firefighters have already received and they will use many of the same tools available to them beforehand.

The specialized air pack, however, will allow the team to carry more air and they can hook it up to others in a variety of methods. If they do have to rescue a member from inside a building, they also use search ropes to keep them oriented.

Twitter: @TDNRaissa

Geographic location: Colchester County

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