Recently the Mint Hill fire department conducted a night time training exercise near Rocky River High School with 10 other departments from the surrounding Charlotte metro area who serve various different counties.
The local area fire department names you might be familiar with who participated in the training exercise include Idlewild, Matthews, Robinson, Hemby Bridge, and Midland. Others who were involved in the drill are Fairview, Flowes Store, Unionville and Bakers fire departments.
This particular training exercise focus was the “Tanker Shuttle Drill” where each department contributed manpower and apparatus which totaled 47 firefighters, 4 engines, and 10 tankers.
As always in these kind of drills the firefighters safety is the primary concern along with the public who may be within a safe distance of the training area. The actual training took place at Clear Creek Commerce Drive and Allen Station Drive in the area of Rocky River High School and the industrial office and business park.
Our goal is always to get water on the fire as quickly as possible. At the same time, we are reminded without the advantage of hydrants to work with, we have to make sound strategic decisions and apply good tactics to maximize the amount of water the first arrival companies bring with them to the scene. When a drop tank operation is indicated, it is very manpower intensive,” said Deputy Chief, John Phillips from Mint Hill.
If the manpower is not available the firefighters have other alternatives and options available to them to draft water which includes near or on-site water sources to sustain a consistent flow of water to suppress a fire when hydrants are not available on the scene.
Managing the tanker traffic is paramount as well according to the lessons learned through the training exercise. It is critical one drop tank is established and a second may be required based on the severity of the fire.
Overall, firefighters safety is paramount, as water hauling is inherently a dangerous operation since fire apparatus is constantly in motion, however, communications and logistical coordination are critical to the success of a water hauling operation.
It’s good to know our fire department is well prepared to handle this kind of situation. Also, the ongoing training and drills the firefighters receive to protect both citizens and property helps make our community a safe place to live.