For the next two weeks, the Bloomfield Fire Department will be tearing down walls and ceilings, cutting holes in the roofs and basements, and performing search and rescue operations at Bloomfield College’s Franklin Street site. The building, which is located at the corner of Franklin and Broad Streets, is slated to be demolished and a new four-story residence hall will be constructed in its place.
According to Deputy Chief Joe Critchley who is also the training officer, the ability to work inside a real building for training is perfect. “We don’t often get buildings like this,” he says. “This is the perfect scenario to train everyone where we can do the cutting and tearing down, learning teamwork and watching for hidden dangers.”
Teams of firefighters were moving from room to room learning how to tear down ceilings using long hooks and working in tandem. On the roof, a team checked an area for structural integrity before the men fired up the circular saw and cut into the roof.
In future training, the firefighters will simulate smoke-filled rooms and locate rescue manikins, learn about cutting holes in floors to reach basement fires and pulling victims from below ground level, ventilating walls and ceilings, and learning about dangers lurking behind sheetrock, such as live wires.
In all, up to 70 firemen will complete the training including the deputies and the junior firemen. “We are grateful to Bloomfield College that they have provided this building for two weeks,” says Critchley. “We can get so much training done during this time. Book learning is great, but having the hands-on experience is invaluable.”