Old Tappan Vol. Fire Department Junior Firefighters Program
Photo by TYLER DI GARDOJunior firefighter gets hands on training on the hydrant and its operation.
Photo by TYLER DI GARDOBefore connecting the 5-inch supply line the hydrant must be inspected and flushed.
Photo by TYLER DI GARDOJunior firefighter opens hydrant to flow water to OTFD Engine 64.
Photo by TYLER DI GARDOThe result of a successful hydrant wrap. The flow of hydrant water into Engine 64's pump for the supply of hand lines into the fire building.
Photo by TYLER DI GARDOJunior firefighters and grizzled veterans re-rack the 5-inch supply line as part of the "taking-up" process after a fire or drill.
OLD TAPPAN, NJ - The Old Tappan Volunteer Fire Department has had a Junior Firefighters program since the 1960's. With so many of its members out of town Monday-Friday from 7AM through 5PM, farsighted progressive thinking members of the department realized that there were a number of fire ground tasks that could be performed by dedicated and motivated youth aged 15-17. By performing these "outside tasks" they freed up regular firefighters to perform interior firefighting duties. This program has continued into the 21st Century.
The OTFD's current crew of Junior Firefighters recently were drilling on one of the essential engine company tasks, wrapping the hydrant. This critical evolution involves stretching the 5-inch supply line hose from the back of the apparatus, looping or wrapping it around the hydrant so it stays secure, as the engine proceeds to the fire structure. The engine carries 750-gallons of water, but any serious building fire will require more than that. It will require the virtually unlimited flow of water from the water mains to which fire hydrants are connected. Once the engine has moved on toward the fire building, the firefighter who wrapped the hydrant must quickly remove the required tools from the attached tool pouch, perform a quick inspection and test of the hydrant to verify it is working, and then connect the 5-inch supply line to the fire hydrant, and report via handie-talkie to the engine chauffeur that he is ready to start water. When the chauffeur reports he's ready for water, the hydrant firefighter opens the hydrant and then follows the 5-inch supply line to engine "chasing the kinks" (removing any bends or less than straight runs that might reduce the flow of the needed water). Firefighters operating inside a fire building are always relieved to hear on their handie-talkies that engine is now on hydrant water.
The department invites any Borough of Old Tappan youth aged 15-17 to consider becoming a Junior Firefighter. Come by our Quarters (corner of Old Tappan Rd. and Russell Ave.) any Monday night at 7:15PM for more information. It is a challenging and interesting way to help your fellow residents.