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PLYMOUTH COUNTY BRUSH BREAKER DRILL
Photos by Britt Crosby
About 100 firefighters from at least 6 Plymouth County Fire Departments participated in a large, well organized Brush Breaker operation training drill on Sunday April 2, 2006. About 9 brush breakers, 2 engine companies, a tanker, and numerous support vehicles, including the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department communications unit spent several hours on a training course setup behind the Plymouth Airport on the Carver / Plymouth line. Crews practiced the art of driving the specialized vehicles off road in the woods, taking down trees of various sizes in an important drill providing needed experience for apparatus drivers, crew members, and officers. Work stations were setup to review winching operations, chainsaw use, hose compatibility, and water supply.
A dry spring and mild temperatures, along with a strong breeze made the drill especially timely with a 'Class 5' fire day and statewide 'Red Flag' warnings indicating extremely high fire risk. Open burning has been temporarily suspended due to conditions. Firefighters know that any fire that gets started under these conditions can become large and dangerous very quickly. This training put these firefighters in a position be able to handle many of the challenges that they may face in an actual fire. Senior firefighters and officers passed on experience and training to newer members, many of whom have not yet been to a large forest fire, but will be expected to know what to do when they are called to act.
This is not the first time Plymouth County Chiefs have conducted such training. Last year, an even larger drill was held.
Departments and apparatus included: Plymouth, Carver, Wareham, Onset, Plympton, Duxbury, and Plymouth County Sheriff's Dept. Plymouth Breaker 172 and 177, Wareham Breaker 402 and 405, Onset Breaker 149, Carver Breakers 27, 28 and 29, Duxbury Breaker 48, and Plympton Breaker 184. Plymouth Engine 1 and Carver Engine 4 supported operations, as well as Carver Tanker 1 and Rescue 2. Chief officers from each of the departments oversaw the drill.
My special thanks to the Chiefs for permitting me access to the drill and the crew of Plymouth Breaker 177 for a great ride in the woods.