Bridgeport FD holds firefighter rescue training


BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – The Bridgeport Fire Department had a special day of training on Saturday where firefighters learned how to save each other if the need arises.

The department sponsored what is known as “firefighter survival and rapid intervention team”. This is according to Rob Blasetti, a training manager with Interstate Rescue, a private business that helps to run these training sessions.

“We do a lot of training on the fire service on how to save victims and how to put fires out,” Blasetti said. “But, we also have to do training on how to save firefighters and save our own. So, we have firefighter rescue teams that are dedicated to the fire scene, and we’re going through the strategies and tactics of dealing with if we had a mayday called in the fire ground.”

Blasetti said through the department-sponsored training, other departments from around the state got to take advantage and learn the skills and techniques necessary to save one of their own.

There was even a volunteer fire department from Butler, PA there. All of them went through the same training.

“It’s all about gaining access,” Blasetti said. “If there’s a firefighter down, something that’s happened, either they lost air, they’re lost in a smoking environment in a known unknown building, or the fire got ahead of them and burned the floor under them in the basement and they fell through.”

He continued.

So what we’re doing is we’re breaking out different techniques today, or this morning. 

Firefighters receiving a lesson during a breakout session

“So, we have forcible entry learning how to get through a locked door. We’re cutting bars on windows behind me, so if we have burglar bars out on windows, we can gain access to them. And, we’re also doing a fire attack and learning different techniques on how to flow water to make it more tenable for the firefighters and the victims that are inside.”

What firefighters are called to do on any given day, Blasetti said, is “dangerous” and that is why offering this type of training is so “critical”.

“We’re going to the unknown at a lot of times, and we’re actually behind the eight ball on that,” Blasetti said. “And part of the building is deteriorating when it’s on fire, so we have to train for those teams to go and respond to them. Here in this area in West Virginia because of reduced staffing, we have to be very — it’s very unique to how to get those teams together while they’re also performing firefighter functions to be able to go rescue one of our own.”

Overall, Blasetti said the day was very productive and that he received a lot of feedback from participating firefighters.

Many called it “the best class ever,” he said.

A lot of them said: “I’ve been learning a lot more techniques that I’ve learned in one session that I’ve learned in my whole career.”

Blasetti said Interstate Rescue brings in a “different flavor”, which is what he thinks firefighters respond to.

“We bring in different techniques to the area that hopefully, you can catch on to make all of us safer as we go through and to be able to perform our job better for the citizens.” 

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