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Dumont Firefighters Train With Self-Rescuing Equipment

A firefighter exits a simulated window during the training session. Photo Credit: Contributed photo
Firefighters practice with the harness system. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule

DUMONT, NJ — In a style that might make Batman blush, Dumont firefighters leapt or lowered themselves from windows while training with equipment designed for emergency escapes from dangerous structures.

Wearing a harness connected to a length of rope, the firefighters attached a hook inside a simulator -- as they would to a window sill, radiator or other stationary object -- and got themselves down during a two-day training session at Tenafly's firehouse.

The sessions were run by Fire Ground Technologies using the Petzl EXO Personal Safety System.

The Pompton Plains training company is owned and operated by retired NYFD Lt. Larry Cohen, who travels to various departments in the tri-state area to conduct training.

“A majority of towns are buying them,” Dumont Fire Chief Matthew Banta told Daily Voice. “New York City spent about $15 million on engineering and researching the system, so we figured since they put in all of that work, and use them, we should follow suit.”

The firefighters spent four hours working through simulated scenarios of jumping from or lowering themselves using the 50 feet of rope included with each kit.

The equipment is intended for last-ditch efforts to get out of a deteriorating structure instantly.

It was developed by the NYFD after two of their own died and four others were critically injured jumped from a burning Bronx building in January 2005.

Now, more than 11,000 city firefighters are carrying the gear, bent on prevent a recurrence.

"When you are in extreme conditions, your mind might be fogged and lose control of your digits," Banta said. "But, even in those circumstances, this is so easy to use.”

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