The Orange Volunteer Fire Department is on call 24/7, 365 days a year. Often while you are nestled all snug in your bed they are rushing off to help a stranger who’s trapped in a car after an accident on the parkway or responding to a report of an activated fire alarm.
The volunteer firefighters answer so many different types of calls that they must be prepared for anything at any given moment.
On Tuesday night, the bright lights from on top of a fire truck could be seen from neighborhoods in the Turkey Hill School area as about 30 Orange firefighters practiced their skills at fighting brush fires.
The drill was as real as it could get, short of lighting the playing field and woods on fire.
According to Chief Charlie Gagel, the men and women practiced two different techniques.
1. Using Indian Tanks — water filled backpack tanks with hoses and nozzles — that they used to saturate the grass outside of the wooded area.
2. Using 2″ and 3″ fire hoses hooked to the fire engine to spray down an area with a high volume of water.
Bush Fire Season
Although during summer, with drought-like conditions (when people often have camp fires) the threat of brush fires is high, but “Brush fires occur in all four seasons,” Gagel said. “In the winter, when there is no snow on the ground and there is low humidity, you can get a brush fire. They are predominantly in the summer when it’s hot, there’s been no rain and the “fuel” is all dried up.”
“You never know when you’re going to have a brush fire and you want the firefighters to be prepared and familiar with the equipment,” Gagel said.
While observing the drill, we noticed that some of the younger firefighters were quick to pick up on the proper way to work the Indian tanks. There was a good mix of veteran and rookie firefighters at the drill with the more experienced firefighters passing on their knowledge to the eager to learn 20-somethings in the department.