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Adapting During COVID-19

 During a time when social distancing, self-quarantining, and staying healthy at all costs seems the most important thing on the table, even organizations like ours need to go through serious changes. Being 100% volunteer, the SWFD relies on members who have full-time jobs outside of the Fire Department.Many also being essential workers, the Department needs to implement everything it can to ensure the town is protected, but also ensure its members ...can survive in their normal lives.

The Department originally made the decision to suspend all in-person training. This was done in an effort to limit any unnecessary person-to-person contact while we were at the peak of the virus. If members got sick, our ability to respond to emergencies would degrade. The Training Division took that opportunity to be creative, and “SWFD Training Minutes”, a video training series, was established. So far, the Training Division has 5 episodes made, and the videos have been disseminated to the membership in place of in-person training. Additionally, we subscribe to an online training academy so special classes can be assigned out and learning can be tracked.

As restrictions begin to soften, we’re doing everything we can to get members back to hands-on work. The Training Division is currently running drills in small groups, more frequently than the standard Tuesday nights we’re used to. Company Captains and Lieutenants are doing the same with members on their own time. We’ve recently focused on airbags/lifting, hydraulics/pumping and water flow, apparatus placement and positioning, ladders, first-second-third-due response patterns, forcible entry, rappelling, and high-angle rope work - all just in the last few weeks. We’ve had a few real-life incidents recently where almost all these topics have been necessary on scene.

We’re also taking advantage of the time we spend out on calls or community events. Stopping at properties or locations on the way back to quarters give us a chance to pre-plan and be ready for whatever may come in next.

If we stop training, we stop bettering ourselves. If we stop bettering ourselves, we may not be 100% ready when the time comes to operate in real life. To the citizens of South Windsor, we want you all to know we are taking every possible opportunity to keep up on our skills and training. The Chief Officers and Training Division will continue to be creative and not only think of ways to keep everyone safe, but educated.

We thank all of our members who have taken extra time out of their lives to attend these off-night and weekend drills - your dedication to being the best you can be shows strong.

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patch transSouth Windsor Volunteer Fire Department

1175 Ellington Road
South Windsor, CT 06074
860.644.8547

 

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