JSP hosts training exercise; 14 fire departments participate


By Paule Simone Brown

Contributing writer

ST. PARIS – Johnson-St. Paris (JSP) Joint Fire District hosted a multi-county water movement training exercise in St. Paris on Saturday to prepare for large-scale firefighting when massive amounts of water are required.

Fourteen fire districts attended to practice together to simulate a full-scale water supply exercise if anything were to happen in St. Paris. Volunteer firefighters from 14 different departments participated in the Region 3 Water Movement Training.

The fire departments that participated were: JSP, Christiansburg, Fletcher, Rosewood, Urbana, Casstown, Cedarville Township, Tipp City, Lockington, Glendale (Cincinnati), Pike Township, West Liberty, Liberty Township (Darke County), and the Roanoke Fire District from Indiana attended the 5-hour long exercise.

JSP Fire Chief Vance McCulla explained, “the whole reason for practicing today is to identify issues that we may have with water supply in the future during a large fire. For example, let us say St. Paris’s water supply or hydrant system were to collapse. Then, the water would need to be brought in by tankers from other districts. We are planning today for how much fire equipment is needed so that we can maintain a thousand gallons of water a minute through a ladder truck like the one supplied by Tipp City today.”

Eleven tankers, seven engines and one ladder truck were used as part of the training. The goal of the water movement exercise Saturday was to obtain and sustain an adequate water flow from water sources to the simulated fire. The engines were drafting water out of ponds on Smith Road at Old Souls and on Kiser Lake Road at Bitter Sweet Knolls for the exercise.

In drafting, water is transferred from a body of water to a truck by suction. As soon as they had done that, they filled tanker trucks and sent them to Graham Elementary School in St. Paris where engines provided by the Fletcher Fire Department pumped water to a ladder truck.

Captain Chris Stafford from the West Liberty Fire Department brought one 3,000-gallon pumper/tanker to the training. He said, “Today will help us know what resources we’ve got for a large fire and how much water we can get depending on how many fire departments are called in for a fire.” He added, “We need to know how much water we can move and how fast we can move it by doing these trainings. We are learning how we can make certain the trucks can make the loop and round trip from the water source to the pumping site where the fire is.”

Todd Burndige from the Roanoke Fire Department in Indiana said he drove to St. Paris because this is a very specialized skill in firefighting and “we normally don’t get to see this.” He added, “I think the truck placements and what to do at every step of the way for water flow is exactly what firefighters need to know.”

These trainings happen once a year. The same simulation was held last year at Russia in Darke County with Sidney Fire Department providing the ladder truck and pumping 2,000 gallons per minute. Trainings are organized by the Ohio Fire Chief Water Supply Committee, which meets to discuss firefighting.

McCulla ended the day by making sure every fire department was thanked for their volunteer time, their teamwork and their expertise.

He stated, “These volunteer first responders gave up their Saturday to come here so that St. Paris could practice water movement for larger fires.” He added, “The training was a success and all firefighters are better equipped to move water from the source to the fire together.”

Reach the writer at [email protected]

Reach the writer at [email protected]

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