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Firefighters exercise pre-incident planning at Mount

(7/17) On July 8, the Vigilant Hose Company held mock exercises at Mount St. Mary’s University. Northern Frederick County emergency services personnel practiced their plans and skills for mitigating a series of potential emergencies on the Mount campus. This was done in concert with Mount St. Mary’s University Public Safety Personnel, Facilities Management Staff and Mount Leadership.

The Vigilant Hose Company of Emmitsburg (VHC) has been working with Mount employees to update Fire Department "Pre-Plans" as occurs every so often to make sure all parties are in sync with needed knowledge and relationships in place prior to a given emergency to assure maximum efficiency and effectiveness for successful resolution with minimum disruption and adverse effects.

VHC Fire Chief Chad Umbel has been overseeing this latest round of fire and emergency services preparedness. As Chief Umbel remarked, "The Mount has always been a huge supporter of our efforts in being prepared to handle emergencies. And, this past year, they’ve again been very gracious and helpful to our firefighters who have been studying campus upgrades allowing for updating maps, double-checking access points for utility shut-offs, emergency operational considerations like hydrant access and utilization and allowing full access to areas of all buildings on campus.

According to Chief Umbel, "All ‘first-in’ fire and ambulance companies are being invited to participate on the 8th so they, too, can be prepared to help handle emergency situations that could arise." The media can watch first-hand as the process is refined during a series of drills that will take place at different parts of the campus throughout the day.

"Exercises will be scenario-based – meaning drawn from real life situations typical to institutions of higher learning as experienced here locally and elsewhere across the nation," said Umbel. VHC uses "pre-incident planning" on major target hazards to assure managing possible incidents that could create significant threats to life and property to prepare for various eventualities which help assure that things go smoothly during a potential actual event.

Utilizing mitigation evolutions like V.E.I.S. (Vent / Enter / Isolate / Search) with a specific focus on Rapid Intervention Techniques and properly utilization of existing built-in building protection systems, emergency services personnel will practice operational exercises, command and control, occupant location and removal, hose deployment, ventilation and restoration of normal building functionality.

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