Firefighters Receive Personal Escape Training
ROBBINSVILLE TOWNSHIP - December 20-22, 2007 - Firefighters from the Robbinsville Division of Fire received training in the newly acquired PETZL EXO Personal Escape System over the course of three days in December.
All Robbinsville Firefighters have been issued an NFPA compliant harnesses and an accompanying EXO personal escape rope. This system was designed by PETZL in conjunction with the New York City Fire Department after two firefighters were killed and four were injured when they were forced to jump 50 feet from a window after becoming trapped in a fire in the Bronx in 2005. That incident drove home the need for a personal escape system that firefighters could use when they were in danger and no ladder was immediately available for firefighters to escape from height.
The EXO escape system consists of a heavy duty hook, 50 feet of rope and a descent control device packed into a carry bag. The carry bag is attached to the harness on the firefighter’s turnout gear and, in an emergency, can be deployed in about 10 seconds. This allows firefighters to “bail out” of a window as high as five stories and safely lower themselves to the ground.
The training on the personal escape system was provided by instructors from First Due Training (http://www.firstduetraining.com/). All course instructors are current or retired members of FDNY who have personal experience using the system. The class consisted of two hours in the classroom followed by six hours of practical. Firefighters were required to pass a written exam and then perform nine separate “bail out” scenarios. The final three scenarios were conducted in full turnout gear including SCBA and firefighters’ masks were covered to simulate zero visibility conditions.
Practical sessions took place in an abandoned house on Route 33 next to the old Robbinsville Inn. The house and the old Robbinsville Inn were donated to the fire department by the property owner. The fire department has been using the buildings for training for several months and they will eventually be demolished to make the way for new development.