The September 2013 Drill for the Highland Park Volunteer Fire Department was held Sunday, September 29th at Donaldson Park and utilized a playground to build a confidence drill for survival.
HPVFD Engine 1 Lieutenant Peggy Brookes (above picture, right) found the idea while searching for training videos online. Together with Ex-Chief Doug Watt (above picture, left) they put together a confidence building course using 200 feet of deployed hoseline and a playground in Donaldson Park.
Firefighters were in full gear and went on breathing air for the drill. Masks were obscured with wax paper, taking vision out of the equations for the Firefighters to navigate the course. Each Firefighter was led to a starting point and given instructions that an evacuation had been sounded, vision/visibility was poor and they were to find a hoseline to help orient & navigate out of danger.
Couplings on a hoseline give clues to the Firefighter as to which direction is out, or back to the Engine outside.
The hoseline weaved & snaked throughout the playgound, creating the need for some of the Firefighters to remove their airpack and wiggle between or through obstacles.
Firefighters were timed on the course and attention was paid to how each managed their air supply and navigated the obstacles.
There was discussion following each trip through the course and a full debrief afterwards. The resounding theme was that it was much harder than it looked but everyone had fun going through – and, most importantly, a lot was learned.
Additional photos are located on our Facebook Page at:
Video of Lieutenant Peggy Brookes navigating the beginning of the course:
Video of Firefighter Mark Bourquist in action: