Firefighters from the Clinton Heights Fire Department along with several neighboring departments recently participated in a "Man vs. Machine" exercise. The two day program was provided by PL Vulcan Fire Training Concepts, led by Captain Mark Gregory, FDNY. Along with Captain Gregory, two additional instructors took the 36 participants through six evolutions touching upon the necessary skill sets and practical solutions needed to address not-everyday-calls but critical ones from machinery entrapment (e.g. meat grinder) to bodily impalement. The exercise also allowed a review of the tools necessary for such unusual calls. A three hour classroom course was followed with four hours of hands-on training. CHFD Chief Seth Tracy welcomed the presenters noting a special relationship between Captain Gregory and his department. Stephen Gregory Sr., Mark's grandfather, a retired New York City firefighter, was a member of the Clinton Heights Fire Department; he volunteered countless hours training local firefighters over the course of his retirement years. He passed away this past late-winter with full honors from Clinton Heights. Present for the course were three generations of the Gregory family: Stephen Jr., Mark Sr., and Mark Jr. This course continued the tradition of the Gregory family sharing their expertise with the members of CHFD. Other fire service agencies joined in the exercise: East Greenbush FD, Rensselaer FD, Defreestville FD, Albany FD, Nassau FD, Averill Park-Sand Lake FD, Schuyler Heights FD, Centervile FD (Greene County) and the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control.
At the invitation of the Melvin Roads Post 1231 American Legion, East Greenbush, NY, members of the Clinton Heights Fire Department participated in Patriot Day Ceremonies. Annually, CHFD formally remembers those fire personnel and all emergency responders as well as the 3,000 lives lost on September 11, 2001. Past Assistant Chief Robert Phelan read the tribute in memory of those lost, while Firefighter Corey Morales tolled the bell during a moment of silence. Twelve members of the Department took time from their day to attend the 12Noon ceremonies. In addition, Truck 8 was brought on site displaying the stars and stripes on the fully extended aerial ladder. Squad 8 also was brought on the grounds as further tribute to the lives lost. May we never forget.
Members of the Clinton Heights Fire Department accepted a challenge by the Oriskany Fire Department to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. Tuesday evening, September 9, 2014, 22 members from both companies--W. F. Bruen Hose and Community Hose--met the challenge and soaked themselves with ice and water! This event had special meaning to the fire fighters as two friends close to the department are ailing from ALS. Struggling with this disease is the department's former mail carrier, Mike Britt, as well as Lou Polsinello, a life member of CHFD's firematics partner, the Rensselaer Fire Department; Lou is the former President of Polsinello Fuels of Rensselaer. The two companies have donated $250 each to the ALS Association of Upstate New York Chapter. Having participated in this event, the Clinton Heights Fire Department put forth a challenge to the Rensselaer Fire Department, the Defreestville Fire Department and Polsinello Fuels to follow their example! CHFD is grateful to Country True Value Hardware for providing the ample number of buckets, and to Price Chopper--East Greenbush for providing a gift card to purchase the ice and refreshments following.
In an effort to sharpen the skills of the volunteer firefighters of the Clinton Heights Fire Department, Lieutenant Mike Ciampo of 45 Truck New York City Fire Department located in the Bronx and Firefighter Mike Leo of Squad 41, Bronx were on hand the weekend of March 30-31st to offer class and hands-on experience in truck company operations. Firefighters from Rensselaer, Defreestville, Halfmoon and Wynantskill were invited to join the 35 volunteers from Clinton Heights for this exercise.
Lieutenant Ciampo offered "tips, tricks and techniques" in window ladder entry as well as rotation and rescue. There was extensive training in forcible entry as a firefighter is faced with inward/outward opening doors. Taught and reviewed as well was roof ventilation with an assortment of saws and tools available to truck company personnel. Actual buildings recently donated to the fire department made the experience that much more realistic. Cutting drills were also offered.
Firefighter Leo addressed the techniques of quick interior searches by ladder entry, taking glass, taking control of a room and conducting the primary search.
In all cases both trainers emphasized the importance of communication, team work and accountability. Lieutenant Ciampo has been on the job for 27 years, having served with Rescue 3 in Washington, D. C. as well as Truck 44 NYFD before being assigned to 45 Truck. Firefighter Leo has been a volunteer firefighter with the Islip fire department for 20 years and for 10 years with FDNY. He is also active with FEMA in the City of New York.