The safe use of Self Contained Breathing Apparatus is essential to firefighters survival during operations requiring its use. Firefighters tasks are both mentally and physically demanding and firefighters must be in excellent physical condition. The SCCBA unit and protective equipment add weight and bulk to the firefighter, causing increased exertion with loss of body fluids through perspiration. These actions increase during firefighting operations and firefighters must be aware of them and of the symptoms of heat stress and their own limitations.

Firefighters must work in teams of two as a minimum. If one member of the team must leave for any reason, all members of the team must exit. While operating in hostile environments and toxic atmospheres with limited visibility, firefighters conducting search and rescue or fire attack must be able to function effectively.

Some general rules that firefighters follow is to always remain low. Heat and smoke from the fire will rise, so floor level provides the best visibility. This will also reduce the risk of injury to a firefighter from walking into a hole in the floor or falling into a pit or shaft.

Check the environment; extend a gloved hand above the head to determine the heat conditions above. This can also be done with a tool, extending it above the head and checking the end for heat. Check for outside openings such as windows and doors. This will provide for a means of escape in an emergency and provide the firefighter’s location to outside personnel. Always maintain direct contact with other team members. It is also acceptable for both firefighter’s to remain in contact by holding onto the same tool or a piece of rope.

There are also times where firefighters will be following a hose line into or out of a hostile environment. In this case, or in cases where direct contact is broken, firefighters should remain in constant voice communication until direct contact can be reestablished or until they are safely out. Firefighters must never remove the facepiece, or enter a hostile environment alone. Temperatures in a structural fire reach 1,000 to 2400 F. One unprotected breath at this temperature level will cause death or severe damage to a firefighter’s respiratory system.

This is what make the role of firefighting so exciting and fulfilling. It is a job that not everyone can do. It is not a job that remains static over time. It is constantly challenging and stimulating environment where the past collides with the future in the actions of those who serve today.

If you are interested in helping protect your community and would like to be part of a team steeped in over 180 years of tradition, we encourage you to join us. We meet every Monday of the month at our station and challenge you to make a difference.

Fire Extinguisher Training

When the employees of a restaurant attended a fire safety seminar, they watched a firefighter demonstrate the proper way to operate an extinguisher. “First you”ll pull the pin like a hand grenade,” he explained, “then press the trigger to release the foam.” Later, an employee was selected to extinguish a controlled fire in the parking lot. In her nervousness, she forgot to pull the pin. The instructor hinted, “Like a grenade, remember?” In a burst of confidence, the woman pulled the pin and hurled the extinguisher at the blaze.

All of the proud citizens of Beaver should agree that we live in one of the most desirable communities in Pennsylvania. As one walks or drives through our town, you can not help but notice the pride people take in their homes and property. The main street of town is the center of business, shopping and various civic activities.

Our town is protected by a well trained and dedicated paid professional police department and dedicated volunteer fire department. The Beaver VFD is composed of your friends and neighbors with a variety of backgrounds including business, professional, blue collar and retired individuals. They give of their time and effort to protect the lives of residents and their property against fire, flood and other destructive forces. If you have the ambition and desire to give back or be of service to your town send us an email at beavervfd@comcast.net.

Chief John Grosskopf

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