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TWINSBURG -- A 10-year-old hauler the fire department had used for fire extinguisher training got a new lease on life earlier this month as the Community Emergency Response Team's new Equipment and Mobile Command Trailer.
The trailer was first used by CERT March 8 during the recent severe wind storms, said Assistant Fire Chief Steve Bosso, who helps lead CERT and serves as a TFD liaison to the group.
"This is great," Bosso said of the hauler. "This is the icing on the cake."
The trailer will house CERT's growing equipment cache, ready for deployment at a moment's notice. Equipment includes office supplies, portable radios, triage kits, maps, traffic control items and other items helpful to CERT during a community emergency.
The trailer also doubles as a back-up command post for the team. Wired for land-line and generator operations by City Electrician Gary Foote, the hauler includes a small base-board heater, LED lighting as well as power and USB charging outlets.
The generator is a reassigned Honda from the fire department and can power the entire trailer if a landline cannot be secured. The city's service department installed a tongue storage box and four stabilization jacks.
Team members painted the interior and installed a four-drawer lateral file cabinet, three fold-down desks, shelves, command boards, tie-down hardware and the mobile radio station. CERT'S radios also connect with those of the safety forces, public works and the parks and recreation departments.
"A lot of things were repurposed," Bosso said. "For example, the filing cabinet was in our kitchen."
John Houston, chief of CERT, said the trailer will make CERT's job easier.
"For Twins Days, we had to wait for a fire truck to bring our stuff," Houston said. "Now we can bring it ourselves."
Houston said the 50-member volunteer team assists the police and fire departments in various capacities.
"With the recent storms, we were deployed to help with road closures," he said. "If there is a disaster and FEMA comes into town, we can assist them. When we had that shooting in the fall, we helped evacuate the neighborhood and set up shelter and helped with meals, and offered comfort."
Members of CERT go through training, including First Aid, CPR and AED training, Houston said.
Mayor Ted Yates called CERT "an asset to the community."
"It's a great group of volunteers who go beyond the call of duty for the events we have around town," Yates said.
Visual Marking Systems of Twinsburg donated, designed and installed the new vinyl wrap for the hauler, Bosso said.
Katie Cole, a Cuyahoga Falls resident who works for VMS, was the graphic designer, and George Kurka of Akron installed the wrap.
"I was going for an industrial look," Cole said. "I wanted to make sure the CERT logo was prominent. I didn't want anything too busy, I wanted the emphasis to be on the CERT team."
Kurka said that it took about eight hours to complete the wrap on the trailer.
VMS CEO Dolf Kahle, the 2016 Twinsburg Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year, said he was happy to help.
"I love helping the Twinsburg Community," Kahle said. "We've been here 30 years. This is a stage of my career when I love giving back to the community. Twinsburg's been great."
New tool for fireextinguisher,hose training
The fire department will also update how it teaches residents to use a fire extinguisher.
The department's new "BullsEye Laser-Driven Fire Extinguisher Training System" from BullEx allows staff to train people safely in any setting, whether in an office building, classroom, warehouse, on a shop floor, or any other interior setting, Bosso said.
In the past, the fire department used a large propane and water-driven trainer. This was cumbersome to set-up and dismantle, Bosso said.
The old trainer also had to be transported by trailer (recently given to the Community Emergency Response Team), operated outdoors and called for the use of ABC fire extinguishers -- which not only created an environmental risk, but the added cost of recharging the extinguishers, Bosso said.
"The BullsEye eliminates the time consuming cleanup and expense associated with using an actual extinguisher, allowing the TFD to train more people, in less time and in the interior environment where they would normally operate," Bosso said.
The linked system is controlled by an iPad Mini and can track how long it takes the trainee to notify coworkers of a fire, contact 911 and extinguish the fire. This is achieved by the integrated 911 phone, working fire alarm pull-station/strobe and a conical laser streamed extinguisher, according to firefighters.
The fire department acquired the new training system in 2016 via a $24,000 grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, Bosso said.