The Dadeville Fire Department hosted area volunteer firefighters in a training class on the operation of pumper trucks. (Photo by Virginia Spears)
The Dadeville Fire Department hosted area volunteer firefighters in a training class on the operation of pumper trucks. (Photo by Virginia Spears)

Archived Story

DFD hosts county fire departments for pumper training

Published 2:38am Thursday, February 20, 2014

Volunteer firefighters from communities across Tallapoosa County have been gathering in Dadeville the past few weeks to learn the ropes of driving a pumper truck.

The class was taught at the Dadeville Fire Department by veteran firefighters Scott Atkins and Jeff Brewer. Both men have been fighting fires together in Dadeville since they were old enough to turn out, and now are captains in charge of training at the Opelika and Alexander City fire departments.

Atkins said the class began after Eagle Creek Volunteer Fire Department received a federal Assistance to Firefighters grant for the purchase of a new pumper truck. But the grant stipulated they needed enough personnel certified to drive and operate it before delivery.

As long as they were teaching the class for Eagle Creek, firefighters from Dadeville, Reeltown and Union were invited to increase their knowledge as well.

“They learned about driving it as well as operating the pump and handling maintenance issues,” Atkins said.

Running the pumper requires a bit more technical knowledge than just keeping the truck on the road. Pumpers transfer the water from the hydrant to trucks fighting fires and operators must understand technical specifics like friction laws and pressure ranges to keep from rupturing the expensive hardware.

Two classes “mirror each other,” Brewer said, with both groups gathering on Saturdays to practice what they’d learned in class. The class has stretched a bit longer than originally planned, Atkins said, due to the often frigid and inclement weather of the previous few weeks.

Saturday they gathered for their final exam, navigating cones and other obstacles as drivers and reading the dials and other instruments with the water flowing.

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