Recent Activities : Archive for 2012

December 7, 2012


The Team participated in the annual Phoenixville Borough Christmas Parade. Since its inception that parade has always had a contest for the 'Best Decorated Fire Truck'; although not being able to be entered in that category we did, however, certainly have the best decorated boat :) The parade provided us with another opportunity to get our apparatus out there in front of the citizens of the community.


November 18, 2012


The Team combined providing a public service with this month's operational drill. The local YMCA had contacted us regarding several large picnic tables that had floated quite a distance down the Pickering Creek during the recent flooding periods. They advised that they were able to spot 3 or 4 scattered across various parts of the creek between their property and the reservoir, but they were all located in areas not accessible for removal of them from the roadway. Since the tables would be expensive to replace they asked if we were able to somehow get them back to their picnic area. A drill scenario was formulated whereby the Team would conduct a water/creek-bank search for an unknown number of reported missing kayakers. Once the mystical victims were located and stabilized the task for the Team would then be to bring all of the found kayaks (picnic tables) back to the staging area via boats. A total of 11 tables were located over the 1.5 mile search area. Nine of those that were found to be intact were returned to the staging area via rope/boat operations. The remainder were left in place due to not being salvageable.


October 29-30, 2012


Hurricane Sandy had a projected path where landfall would be made somewhere over the central New Jersey coastline with an in-land path taking her right over the Philadelphia area during night-time hours. Extended periods of heavy rain and high winds were projected for a 36-48 hour period. In preparation Station 77 staffed the Station with a minimum of two water rescue/boat crews from noon on Monday through event termination at 11 AM on Tuesday. Throughout the period of the event additional staffing was available, both on Station and via immediate call-in. Thankfully the severity of the storm in our area proved to be far less than had been projected. In fact, Station 77 did not have to be dispatched to a single water rescue within our response area during the event period, with NO water rescues taking place in all of Chester County. We remain thankful for this unprecedented statistic considering both the projected severity of the storm as well as the 4 inches of constant rain and heavy winds our area did actually experience. A total of 11 Team members spent time on-Station for a total of 155.5 man-hours. WE were ready, but quite thankfully, we did not need to respond!


October 21, 2012


The Team traveled to three locations in Chester and Montgomery Counties in support of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Utilizing all of our apparatus and boats in three separate and simultaneous operations at all three locations – boat access ramps maintained by the Commission – the Team removed seasonal marker buoys anchored to the river bottom designed to maintain safe control over recreational boating in the area and replaced them with off-season channel marker buoys. This event has now become one of our yearly events geared towards promoting safe boating in recreation areas within our designated primary response area. It combines our commitment to serving the public with an outstanding opportunity for advanced training of our seasoned personnel while at the same time providing our newer personnel with 'real word' training experiences under controlled, non-emergency conditions.


October 19, 2012


Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Phoenixville Fire Department at Bridge and Starr Streets in Phoenixville Borough for a vehicle stuck in high water at the Route 29 underpass. The entire response was recalled minutes later by the PFD fire chief based on the police report of no services required prior to the response of any apparatus.


October 16, 2012


Dive-Rescue 77-1 and Boat 77-1 traveled through the annual Phoenixville Halloween parade. It provided a good opportunity to showcase our first-response water rescue apparatus to the citizens of Phoenixville and surrounding communities.


October 11, 2012


The Team traveled to North Coventry Township with Dive-Rescue 77-1, Boat 77-1 and Boat 77-3, Dive-Rescue 77-2 and Utility 77 and Dive-Rescue 77-3 and Boat 77-2 to participate in a massive Fire Prevention Week emergency vehicle display sponsored by Norco Fire Company (64). Safety handouts regarding such topics as wearing a PFD, Boating Safety and Water Safety were given out as well as water safety-related educational coloring books for children. Boarding Boat 77-2 continued to be a big draw for children.


October 6, 2012


The Team traveled to the Home Depot in Pottstown, Pa. with Dive-Rescue 77-1, Boat 77-1, Dive-Rescue 77-2 and Utility 77 to participate in an all-day public relations event marking Fire Prevention Week and attended by numerous Montgomery and Berks County emergency services organizations. Our dive equipment was on display and children were able to wear an XO-20 dive helmet and communicate with their parents via the surface-supplied intercom system.


October 5, 2012


The Team traveled to Bridge Street in Phoenixville for a public relations event at Phoenixville’s First Friday / Fire Prevention Week demonstration organized by the Phoenixville Fire Department. The public was able to view Dive-Rescue 77-3 along with children having a great time boarding Boat 77-2.


August 7, 2012


Team members took all four vehicles and three boats to the ‘National Night Out’ program sponsored by the Phoenixville Town Watch and held at the Grace Crossing Community Church. The event offered the Team an opportunity to show our apparatus and equipment to the citizen’s of the community as well as to continue to educate the public as to our existence and mission.


July 15, 2012


Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Phoenixville Fire Department with a vehicle stuck in high water at Bridge and Church in the Borough following a short period of very heavy rain. Station 77 was recalled by the Borough Fire Chief just prior to the response of Dive-Rescue 77-1 as no services were required.


June 6, 2012


The Team was set to assist Telford Diving Unit with providing water safety support for a multi-hour run/bike/canoe event. The water portion of the event was to begin at around 10PM with the first canoes entering the Schuylkill River near Birdsboro. The race was to end at a take-out point just above the Black Rock Dam with the last canoes expected to cross the finish line around 2 AM on Sunday morning. This event would have provided both Teams with an excellent opportunity to hone their night operations skills. Due to heavy rains the night before water levels and river conditions were closely monitored throughout the day. Assistance was requested from the water rescue team from the Black Rock Fire Department as the day wore on and conditions deteriorated at the take out point above the dam. The go/no go decision was not made until shortly after 8 PM when the race organizers wisely took the recommendation of the leaders of both Teams and cancelled the on-water portion of the race due to unsafe, still-rising water levels and the submerging of quite a number of access/staging points for the safety crews should an emergency take place.


May 20, 2012


The Team traveled to three locations in Chester and Montgomery Counties in support of the Pennsylvania Fish Commission. At all three locations – boat access ramps maintained by the Commission – the Team placed marker buoys designed to maintain safe control over recreational boating in the area. The Team also set buoy markers downriver of one of the locations to mark the safe channel passage through a very dangerous rocky river bottom. This event has now become one of our yearly events geared towards promoting safe boating in recreation areas within our designated primary response area.


May 19, 2012


The Team participated in the annual Phoenixville Dogwood Parade. The parade once again provided the Team with an opportunity to show the home community that we serve our apparatus and personnel. All four trucks, the dive trailer and two boats traveled the parade route. As in past years children of active Team members (with parental supervision) traveled the parade route riding in both boats.


UPDATE: The Friendship Diving-Rescue Unit placed 3rd in the best Fire Company category in the 2012 Dogwood Parade.


May 9, 2012


Station 77 was dispatched to assist the West Whiteland Police Department and the FBI with a search for a missing mentally disabled juvenile. The Team cleared three ponds located in the primary search area as assigned to us. The individual was not located at the time that the IC terminated the search.

Upon completion of the West Whiteland search, and before returning to Phoenixville, Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Reading Police and Fire Departments with a body recovery on the Schuylkill River in West Reading. Our Team joined with dive teams from Exeter, Boyertown and Schuylkill Haven to search the area around where witnesses reported the victim to have disappeared beneath the surface after having jumped off a nearby railroad bridge. Our Team also searched an area of rapids and entrapments down-river as well as a high-entanglement area in the swift current with our underwater camera as it was deemed to be too hazardous to utilize divers in that area. After all those areas were cleared the IC then terminated the search pending further information and observations as no victim was located.


May 6, 2012


Station 77 traveled cross-County to provide water safety services for the annual Northbrook Canoe Race. This event is sponsored by the Chester County Cerebral Palsy Association as a primary fundraiser. This multi-mile canoe race on the Brandywine Creek, undertaken by amateur canoeists being sponsored by donors, and held in early-Spring when the water is still cold provides our Team with a good opportunity to practice our skill set while helping to support a very worthwhile charity. This is the 17’Th year that Station 77 has participated. This year’s event fortunately saw our Team having to make only three in-water rescues. Station 77 was assisted this year by the water rescue crews from West Bradford Fire Company (Station 39) and Telford Diving Unit (MC Station 64).


January 27, 2012


Station 77 was dispatched along with Stations 65/67 (Phoenixville Fire Department Local) to the area of the French Creek behind Tague Lumber Co. for a water rescue. Upon arrival of Dive-Rescue 77-1 at the scene it was determined that the call was not a active water rescue but rather a victim down an embankment and that PFD personnel were already effecting the rescue. Station 77 personnel stood by as the rescue was taking place, very close to the swift moving water of the French Creek.


January 21, 2012


Station 77 was dispatched along with Station 61 (Kimberton Fire Company Local) to a report of a dog thru the ice in a local pond on Chester Springs road. While enroute Dive-Rescue 77-1 was advised by OIC Chief Doug Gable that some bystanders with a canoe had gotten the dog out of the water and he was issuing a recall.


January 1, 2012


Station 77 was again asked to provide water safety services to the Pottstown Recreation Department for their annual "Polar Bear Plunge" in the Schuylkill River. Along with members of our sister team, Telford Diving Unit both in-boat and in-water personnel formed a perimeter and stood ready to assist any New Year's Day revilers finding themselves in distress.