Thanks to the generosity of a Grand Island woman who was planning to have her old home on East River Road demolished, the town fire company this month got what Fire Chief Matt Osinski described as “a tremendous boost” in training opportunities.
Instead of having the house demolished immediately, the woman let the Grand Island Fire Company use it for practice to enhance the skills learned by firefighters, skills that will benefit island residents. Osinski said the woman’s “exceptional generosity” provided a training situation the likes of which are extremely hard to come by.
“But when they do, firefighters are given the chance to sharpen their skills in a structural scenario which they would encounter during an actual fire emergency,” he said.
The fire chief emphasized that no “live” fires were set in the house, though firefighters training for various structural situations wore full protective gear to simulate real-life conditions. He said all the drills were concluded by 9 p.m. each day of training, out of consideration for nearby residents.
The training began April 7, when Assistant Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski directed search and rescue operations and hose-line placement within a smoke-filled environment created by a smoke machine.
On April 15, Osinski and Sadkowski directed roof ventilation procedures using ladders, chain saws and related equipment to give new firefighters a chance to build their confidence in working at heights.
On April 16, they practiced more rooftop ventilation along with interior search and rescue procedures and wall breaches to get firefighters familiar with safety and survival practices.
Osinski said the donor’s generosity didn’t stop with the fire company. The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, donated windows and siding and other material from the East River Road home to people she learned were in need of such material for their own homes.