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Fire truck driver thinks safety first

Many youngsters think it would be a lot of fun to drive a fire engine on an emergency call with its siren on and lights blinking to help put out a fire and save a lot of people. However, according to Allen LaGrave, technician 1 at the Prince William County Antioch Fire and Rescue Department, Station 24, for a firefighter behind the wheel of any fire or emergency truck, it is all business, no fun and games.

LaGrave’s job involves protecting property and more importantly, human life, and that includes people who might be on the route the fire engine is traveling on to get to the emergency. The rolling stock at Station 24 includes engines, which are the largest trucks, medic units, a mass casualty unit with advanced life support equipment, a brush truck and a canteen truck, usually driven by an auxiliary member to support the first responders.

“We have two mass casualty units in the station,” LaGrave said. We can treat about 50 people with it and handle triage. Each of us is trained on every piece of equipment of at the station. However, there is different training for engines that we take over time.”

There are two components in training to handle an engine. Firefighters initially are taught emergency vehicle operations (EVOC) regarding the driving and handling of an engine. Next they take a driver pump operator course. LaGrave said this training teaches them how to pump and get water into the truck’s hoses, handle hydraulics and vehicle maintenance.

Read the full story in the Sept. 30 issue of the Bull Run Observer.

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