Nearly every Thursday, Pinch Volunteer Fire Department members know an “emergency” is coming. While it may not be an actual, life-or-death emergency, it is treated as such — to prepare them for when a real crisis arises.
On most Thursday evenings, Pinch VFD firefighters participate in a training and refresher session to keep their skills sharp. On June 18, for example, the firefighters’ training consisted of drills in auto extrication, lifting, and stabilization of automobiles in a devised emergency scenario.
Pinch VFD Assistant Fire Chief Duane Legg said the weekly drills have been standard practice since the fire department’s incorporation in 1959. “We celebrated our 60th anniversary of them last August,” he noted.
“We’ve always had what we call a drill night on Thursdays,” Legg explained. “Usually, it’s not every single week, but more than 80 to 90% of the time, we do some kind of training — fire, rescue base, auto extrication. Skillwise, it could be something like rope work. It really kind of depends on what the guys’ mood is that day.”
The June 18 automobile extrication drill, which took place in a parking lot across from the fire station, was “for junior members to learn how to operate basic extrication tools,” Legg said.
“It’s good to practice,” he added, “so that when the time comes we have those skills. It’s muscle memory, so to speak.”
The Pinch Volunteer Fire Department has a current roster of 55 active members, he said. Junior Pinch VFD members must be in high school, maintain a “B” average and be in good standing conduct-wise at their school. Older firefighter candidates must have a high school diploma and pass a background check, Legg said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of the 2020 Pinch Reunion’s in-person events, including the Pinch VFD’s yearly Fireman’s Parade, Legg said.
“We are going to proceed on Aug. 1 with our annual Hootenanny in the Hills,” he said. “It’s an ATV ride out in Sanderson. It’s a big fundraiser for us. We don’t operate off of fundraising money, fortunately; we have our donations and our state money we operate off of. The fundraising is kind of the icing on cake, so to speak, for specialized training and buying new equipment.”
Online registration for this year’s Hootenanny in the Hills begins on Wednesday, July 1.
For more information, contact the Pinch Volunteer Fire Department at 304-965-1657 or visit the website, www.pinchfire.com, or the VFD’s page on Facebook.