Fort McCoy News November 08, 2013

Fire Department trains with neighboring communities

Emergency and fire department personnel from Fort McCoy and two neighboring communities trained together Oct. 26 to help develop their mutual assistance plans.

Photo for fire department article
Fort McCoy personnel check out the operation and reach of the Fire
Department's 100-foot ladder truck during a joint training exercise
with surrounding communities.
Contributed photo

Fort McCoy Fire Department Chief David Biondi said the training involved the Oakdale certified First Responders, the city of Tomah and the McCoy Fire Department and was held at the Allied Cooperative storage facility east of Tomah in the Oakdale Fire Protection district. The goal of the training was to educate each emergency department about its unique facilities and response areas, he said.

"Each community has primarily the same landscape such as residential areas, commercial districts, and industrial districts," Biondi said. "The training exercise was an opportunity for each department to have a 'pre-plan' in place in case of an emergency incident at the cooperative."

These training events help each department involved in the Monroe County Mutual Aid Box Alarm System better learn each other's capabilities to assist each community and to become familiar with the departments' apparatus, manpower, and equipment.

Biondi said the training was very beneficial because the Fort McCoy Fire Department ladder truck was used. The exercise tested positioning of the truck and extension of the 100-foot ladder section and platform for rescue operations.

The training also helps re-emphasize Fort McCoy's commitment to supporting the local communities under the Army Community Covenant, Biondi said.

In its role to support military training and other Department of Defense missions, the Fort McCoy Fire Department has access to and can use many sophisticated pieces of firefighting and emergency response equipment that many local fire departments don't have access to, he said.

For example, Fort McCoy has a command-and-control vehicle that allows firefighters to set up a safe command post to coordinate firefighting and emergency responses, and the ladder vehicle also is available.

Two fire engines obtained in 2012 by Fort McCoy have a 1,500-gallon-per-minute pumping capability, with a self-contained 800-gallon water tank. The engines have larger cabs, which allow firefighters to wear more gear while responding to an emergency, have easier access to gear, provide a comfortable ride and include the latest safety features, such as a self-contained breathing apparatus for each seat.

The fire chiefs from Fort McCoy and Oakdale are planning to have additional training exercises in the future, Biondi said. The Fort McCoy Fire Department is open to arranging training with other emergency agencies in its mutual aid area, as well.