Firefighters from Portland, New York, and Florida pose with Lima, Peru Firefighters after a long day of fireground training
Portland Fire & Rescue and the Portland Bombero Association were privileged to be able to assist FDNY Battalion Chief Daniel Sheridan down in Lima, Peru for a very special mission…a week of training in honor of Father Mychal Judge, the FDNY chaplain killed on 9/11 at Ground Zero.
Sheridan had been a personal friend of Judge’s, and took the loss especially hard. When Father Chris Dunn, a priest in Peru from the same Franciscan Order as Father Judge called and asked Sheridan’s Mutual Aid Training Group for training and assistance, Sheridan knew what he had to do. Commemorating the 10th anniversary of Judge’s sacrifice, Sheridan assembled a team of instructors from the United States who had years of experience in training fire departments in Latin America and gathered much needed firefighting equipment from donors.
Left to Right: Portland Fire Lieutenant Joe Troncoso, Miami-Dade Fire Department Firefighter Juan Rubio, FDNY Battalion Chief Daniel Sheridan, and Miami-Dade Fire Department Firefighter Jorge Troyano
Sheridan was joined by Fire Lieutenant Joseph Troncoso from Portland Fire & Rescue, as well as Jorge Troyano and Juan Rubio, two experienced instructors from Miami-Dade Fire Department in Florida. The team arrived on January 21, 2012 and hit the ground running, training the Peruvian firefighters at Station 120 in South Lima.
The city of Dumont, New Jersey donated a 1986 engine. Despite its age, it had extremely low mileage and was in top-notch condition. One of the Lima drivers pointed out that the older apparatus are preferable, given that they are able to work on them when a breakdown occurs. They said that with the newer apparatus being computer controlled, they don’t have anybody in the country who can fix them. Sheridan equipped the engine with a full complement of firefighting gear. Father Mychal Judge’s name was put on the engine in his memory.
Left: Lieutenant Troncoso explains how to quickly don an SCBA
Right: Lieutenant Troncoso and Lima firefighters outfitted in turnouts and MSA SCBA's
MSA generously agreed to ship 30 MSA Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) down to Lima.
Lima is a large city of nearly 9 million inhabitants, served by 59 fire stations. Station 120, located in the southernmost of the four districts, covers 25 square kilometers with a population of 750,000 residents in their fire management area alone! They have 60 volunteers based out of their station. Lima’s firefighters, like most throughout South America, are nearly all volunteers. The fire service is on a national level in Peru, and any firefighter from Lima can transfer to any other city in the country once they’re trained. The only exception to being a volunteer is if one is the driver/engineer. They are paid to do their job and can frequently be the only ones in a rig driving to the fire where they will await the firefighters who respond in their own vehicles.
Sheridan asked Portland Fire to train the Lima firefighters in the use of SCBAs and fireground management techniques. Portland Fire & Rescue Retired Lieutenant Dan Rossos was kind enough to consult and work with Troncoso to develop a very comprehensive training program which was translated into Spanish and taught in Lima.
Trainings topics provided during the week included MSA SCBA’s, air management, engine operations, fire attack, strategies and tactics, and ventilation. Although Station 120 was the recipient of the donated engine and airpacks, numerous other stations participated, eager to receive training.
Lima firefighters take a rest after fire attack training
Friday night at nearly midnight when the training was completed, Sheridan addressed the exhausted students. “I hope that when the Engine with Father Mychal’s name on it is going through your city, that you’ll remember him and what he stood for”.
The students were very grateful for the training and said it was the first time in the 15 year existence of Station 120 that they’ve received any outside training. That it came from American firefighters (who they consider the best in the business) left them thankful beyond words.
Blog and photos courtesy of Lieutenant Joe Troncoso.
Portland Fire & Rescue