DANBURY Heavy rescue ready
DANBURY — City firefighters spent several hours Thursday learning the finer points of rigging heavy equipment — including tractor trailer trucks — that could shave off precious minutes during an emergency response.
The training exercise is part of the department’s larger effort to create a dedicated rescue company that can be used by other departments throughout the region.
The department recently received $20,000 worth of new heavy-duty rigging equipment for the effort.
With the new equipment, including rigging blocks, heavy chains and support struts, the fire crews can more quickly stabilize the heavy equipment, prepare it for removal and begin extricating any patients.
Experts with Modzelewski’s Recovery & Repair Inc., which has locations in Danbury, Newtown and New Milford, worked with the firefighters Thursday to help train them on the new equipment.
“Understanding how the rigging works, what kind of weight you can pull with it and how to use it safely is extremely important,” said Deputy Chief William Lounsbury, who is spearheading the effort. “To be able to work with people from Modzelewski who use this equipment every day is a great opportunity for us.”
Lounsbury said he hopes to work with other towing companies and rescue squads in the area as they continue to develop the program.
Firefighters on Thursday trained on a tractor-trailer truck that was rolled over onto a small sedan. The firefighters were working to secure the truck in order to safely extricate the occupants of the car.
“Having the new equipment will be extremely useful, but the most invaluable asset that we have on a fire truck is the firefighters,” said Lt. Kevin Lunnie, who has also been instrumental in moving the program forward. “No amount of equipment helps unless you know how to use it.”
Firefighters who have been trained, he said, can more quickly roll out the equipment and get it into operation when minutes — or seconds — could mean the difference between life and death.
While most extrications involve small cars, Lunnie said the department also has to respond on occasion to tractor-trailer roll overs on the highway.
Other incidents that the training can prove useful for is in train accidents and buildings collapses.
Lounsbury said the department has invited rescue squads from other area towns including Brookfield, Bethel and Newtown to attend a meet and greet next week at the city’s fire school, which is located on Plumtrees Road.
“It will be an opportunity for all of us to compare the equipment and see what each department has available,” he said. “These are departments that we work with all the time on mutual aid calls.”
James Modzelewski said they were more than happy to help the firefighters training on the equipment. Employees with the towing company, he said, often work hand in hand with firefighters in emergency situations.
“It’s really all about communication and safety,” he said. “It’s about knowing what you can accomplish with the rigging and what you can’t, and doing it safely. I hope that we can do more training exercises like this in the future.”