West Bloomfield Fire Department Trains for Water Tower Disaster
Members of the West Bloomfield Fire Departments Technical Rescue Team, along with mutual aid partners from the Oakway Mutual Aid groups technical rescue team, conducted live training exercises last week at the Township’s Water Tower located on Commerce Road. During this training exercise fire crews responded to a simulated report of an injured person who was located within the water tower, stranded over 100 feet up inside the tower with multiple injuries from a fall.
Responding fire crews gained access to their simulated victim via an interior vertical climb of over 100 feet up to a narrow catwalk which contained cellular phone antennas and tight spaces. Within this space they located their victim, delivered emergency medical care while packaging and rigging rescue ropes and harnesses to the patient for an open air rescue down the outside of the tower through a narrow hatchway. The victim and rescuers descended safely and carefully down the exterior of the tower with a rescuer alongside the victim for entire trip, delivering care and encouragement to the victim all the way down to the ground.
“This scenario was a culmination of many training evolutions that the Technical Rescue Team and our mutual aid partners have been participating in” said Chief Jay Wiseman. “These types of rescue incidents require numerous and very specific technical skill sets where one skill is built upon another until you have a proficient technician”, this training evolution called upon fire crews from multiple agencies to combine a wide range of skills to achieve success.
The departments technical rescue team regularly trains throughout the Township and south Oakland County. The larger Oakway Technical Rescue Team is comprised of specially trained firefighters from each of the eight communities which collectively make up the Oakway mutual aid group, this includes: Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Ferndale, Madison Heights, Pontiac/Waterford, Royal Oak and West Bloomfield. This larger mutual aid team is available to provide large scale technical rescue services anywhere throughout southern Oakland County. The same group also aids one another during large fires or other significant events where multiple resources are needed to ensure a successful outcome.
As part of West Bloomfield Fire Departments “all hazards” approach to emergency services delivery, their Technical Rescue Team provides response capability to residents for situations that include: elevated rescues, building collapse, entrapments and rescues from confined spaces such as underground pipes, vaults and construction trenches.