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Durham Fire Department Hosts Mutual Aid Aerial Training

August 17, 2011

Aerial ladders on Durham and Dover fire department fire trucks crisscross during a training exercise outside Christensen Hall last week.

The Durham Fire Department recently conducted a 32-hour aerial fire apparatus training program through the New Hampshire Fire Academy. The four-day training session, which took place on campus, was performed from loading docks and service roads. A New Hampshire Fire Academy instructor was on hand during the training.

Twenty firefighters from the Durham, Dover, Newmarket, and Newington fire departments participated in the regional training that allowed departments to compare equipment, operator techniques, and resource capabilities, and provided firefighters with the basic knowledge and skills to safely operate fire department aerial devices. 

Members of the Durham and Dover fire departments practice ladder placement outside Christensen Hall during a recent aerial training exercise.

A member of the Durham Fire Department extends a ladder to the roof of Christensen Hall during a training exercise.

A Durham firefighter guides an aerial ladder to the roof of Christensen Hall.

A ladder rests mere inches from the roof of Christensen Hall as firefighters from Durham and surrounding communities tested their skills last week during a training exercise.

Durham probationary firefighter Kathryn Everts keeps her eyes skyward as she works the controls of the ladder truck while extending the ladder to the roof of Christensen Hall.

Durham firefighter Kathryn Everts checks her position during an aerial training session held recently with adjoining towns. Twenty firefighters took part in the drill.

Practical skills and hands-on demonstrations gave firefighters the chance to apply classroom knowledge. Exercises included:

  1. Driving and stabilization
  2. Stabilization on a grade
  3. Aerial device inspection
  4. Emergency hydraulic pump operation
  5. Introduction to operating the aerial device (the cone drill)
  6. Placing the aerial device for rescue
  7. Placing the aerial device for roof access/ventilation
  8. Aerial master stream operation



Members of the Durham Fire Department practice operating the ladder and honing their aim by placing a cone on top of another cone during a training exercise last week. Photo: Capt. David Emanuel, Durham Fire Department.

The Durham Fire Department is made up of 28 full-time professional firefighting personnel which includes 20 firefighter/EMT’s, four captains, one fire inspector, one deputy chief of prevention, one assistant fire chief, and one chief. 

It is supported by one full-time administrative assistant and 12 paid on-call part-time firefighters.  The DFD is the primary first responder to all fire and EMS calls both in town and on campus, with a third-party ambulance service contracted for transport.  The on-duty shift consists of a captain and four firefighters cross-manning two engines, a tanker, a first-response medic truck, aerial ladder, heavy rescue, forestry unit, and below-grade rescue trailer. The department responds to approximately 2,200 calls for service on a yearly basis and is part of a very busy local mutual aid system. 

Members of the Dover Fire Department maneuver the bucket of their tower ladder truck to within inches of the roof in a practice drill outside Christensen Hall.

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