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Fire fighters practice tapping the river

Learning how to efficiently haul water to the scene of a rural fire was the focus of a hands-on practice workshop for volunteers from eight local fire companies on Sunday, April 7, along the banks of the Delaware River.
TRR photo by Jane Bollinger

By Jane Bollinger
April 10, 2013

DAMASCUS TOWNSHIP, PA — Highway drivers coming upon the scene might have thought there was an emergency rescue going on along the banks of the Delaware River. There was no emergency, but rather an important hands-on practice session for rural firefighters who regularly face the challenge of showing up at a fire scene to find no ready source of water.

Eight local fire companies and about 30 of their volunteers took part in a “Rural Water Movement Course” on Sunday, April 7 at the DEP Fish and Wildlife boat launch on Route 652, just short of the Narrowsburg, NY bridge. This was the first time the course has been run in Wayne County for a number of years. Host fire companies for the exercise were Welcome Lake and Beach Lake.

“The challenge,” said instructor Fred Bales, a retired chief from Greenfield Township, PA “is efficiently moving water to the scene.” Tanker after tanker truck took a turn on the river bank to practice all the necessary steps.

Bales said that the class was both for younger firefighters to be introduced to the process, as well as for those with more experience to learn new techniques. “It’s also an opportunity for the different fire companies to work with the other departments that they often go to fires with.”

The field day was preceded by several nights in the classroom. The eight fire companies participating were Welcome Lake, Beach Lake, White Mills, Hamlin, Seelyville and Lackwaxen from Pennsylvania, plus Lava and Lake Huntington from New York State.

“It was a good day. Everybody learned a lot,” Bales reported.