On Saturday February 23, 2013 members of the Brewster Fire Department participated in a six hour classroom/hand-on training program on the use, care, and maintenance of their newly purchased Gemtor personal harness systems. These individually fitted, multi-purpose harnesses which are worn by firefighters over their turnout pants are designed to enhance the safety of every firefighter operating at an incident through a number of methods that were expertly detailed during the day by a professional group of experienced fire service instructors.
Safety & Survival training, a New Jersey based company who is the sole supplier of the training for the Gemtor Company conducted the program for the group of approximately 30 members. A two-hour classroom component started off the day after which personnel completed four hours of intense, hands-on evolutions covering skills and techniques in the areas of rescuing and removing lost, disoriented, or injured firefighters from the interior of a structure, personal self- rescue or “bail out” of the upper floors of a structure, establishing rope rescue anchor points, and use of the harness as a personal safety device during ground and aerial ladder operations.
Enhancing the safety of our staff through the purchase of new, innovative, and state-of-the-art equipment is an ongoing goal of our organization. Due to the estimated cost to finalize this project it was designed to be completed in stages. Beginning with the purchase of new turnout gear capable of supporting the equipment, purchase of the harnesses, and completion of the training the project took approximately 24 months to complete. Funding for the turnout gear and harnesses was provided by the residents of Brewster through our annual operating budget. A portion of a substantial donation received from Brewster resident Mrs. Susan Schechter in memory of her husband allowed us to complete the training component of the project. We offer our sincere gratitude to the residents of Brewster in particular Mrs. Schechter for their support and commitment to improving the safety and capabilities of our professional staff and allowing us to complete this life-saving safety initiative.