Woodlawn volunteers assisted with the Parkland High School "Science of Firefighting" class Monday afternoon. Students learned about the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) that firefighters wear into fires, as well other oxygen-deficient or toxic environments. Contrary to popular belief, the cylinders contain normal atmospheric air rather than simply oxygen; not only do fires feed on oxygen, but excessive oxygen can actually be harmful to a person. The lesson included discussion of a modern SCBA's components, the process of safely putting on ("donning") and taking off ("doffing") the pack, routine inspection and describing the various safety and rescue features.
Woodlawn members facilitate several sessions of the semester-long class each spring with equipment and personnel. The curriculum was first designed by Assistant Chief Barry Search while he was a teacher at Parkland; he has since retired but assists current instructor Eric Gopen, a volunteer firefighter with Lower Macungie Fire Department and science teacher at Parkland. ... See moreSee less
Monday night's weekly training at Woodlawn featured Medical Specialist Savkova leading an orientation on assessment and packaging of trauma patients, specifically at motor vehicle collisions. Our volunteers routinely respond on these types of incidents, especially along busy stretches including U.S. Route 22, North Cedar Crest Boulevard, Mauch Chunk Road and Pa. Route 309, among others. Many of our members have emergency medical training, but non-medical firefighters are still involved in assisting with securing and moving sick and injured patients to the ambulances. After a PowerPoint introduction to assessment and spinal immobilization, members practiced typical removal of a victim from a vehicle. Thank you for your continued support! ... See moreSee less
Search and rescue was tonight's training at Woodlawn. Specialist Sommers and Lieutenant Sommers set up several rolled hoselines, representing various search locations, and metal wrenches on only a few, to represent victims and to evaluate fine dexterity with the bulky structural gloves. The drill was made more difficult for our volunteers by wearing their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) with the fire-resistant hood covering the facepiece to simulate the blinding and disorienting conditions inside a smoke-dried structure. Additionally, it was an opportunity to practice air management on the limited-supply cylinders we use while performing tasks. ... See moreSee less
UPDATE THURSDAY 1230pm: Phones at Woodlawn are working again.
Attention residents near Woodlawn: Our station telephone is out of service at this time. For an emergency, dial 911 as always...for a non-emergency request, call the Lehigh County Communications Center at 610-437-5252 and the appropriate resources will be dispatched. We're sorry for the inconvenience! ... See moreSee less
...HIGH WIND WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 2PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 6PM EST MONDAY
* WINDS...West 25 to 35 mph with 55 to 60 mph gusts.
* TIMING...A surge of winds just behind the passage of a strong cold front late this afternoon will result in 45 to 55 mph gusts. Otherwise, winds during the overnight will generally gust 35 to 45 mph. Starting Monday morning, strong winds gusting 55 to 60 mph will affect the area.
* IMPACTS...Strong winds may blow down limbs, trees, and power lines. Scattered power outages are expected.
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...The ground is quite saturated, and additional heavy rainfall this morning will add to this. It will not take much wind to result in downed trees and power lines.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS A High Wind Warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage. ... See moreSee less
Woodlawn Fire Department regrets to announce the loss of former Firefighter Mike Geist. We share this grief with several organizations around the region that Mike contributed to, most recently his membership with Bushkill Township Volunteer Fire Company. He will be warmly remembered for his hard work, contagious laugh and, in his own words, being "Pennsylvania Dutch stubborn." Rest In Peace Mike, we've got it from here. ... See moreSee less
So it's not Thursday, but let's have some throwback facts anyway. The Founding Fathers helped get the American fire service on its feet!#TBT Future President George Washington was a volunteer firefighter in Alexandria, Virginia. As a member of the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Company, he bought a new fire engine and gave it to the town, which was its very first. Benjamin Franklin also was a Volunteer Firefighter in his earlier years, helping to create the first fire department in Philadelphia in 1736. #active911 #presidentsday #volunteerfirefighters ... See moreSee less
This Monday’s regular training featured Detective Douglas Nothstein of the Bethlehem Police Department and his partner, K-9 Silver, the region’s new fire accelerant detection team. Silver is a graduate of the State Farm Arson Dog Program, which has graduated over 400 dogs to agencies nationwide since 1993. Silver took over for K-9 Judge and his partner, Chief Lee Laubach, both of the Allentown Fire Department, after several years of service.
Silver is a 2 1/2 year old female Labrador Retriever. State Farm’s academy acquires dogs mostly through animal shelters and guide/disability assistance programs; Silver started at the Southeastern Guide Dogs school before finding the fire service. Dogs are becoming a popular agent in arson investigations because their sense of smell is nearly 50 times more sensitive than a human’s, often even more sensitive than the machines that are expected to confirm the evidence found by the dogs. She is trained to be reward incentive, meaning once she detects an accelerant she is rewarded with a treat. Her natural lack of bias and extensive training set her at the level of an expert witness in criminal proceedings, and her findings are treated as such. That training includes recognition of more than 50 different accelerants and requires annual recertification at a three-day academy in South Carolina, along with daily drills.
She lives with Det. Nothstein and will eventually retire with him and his family, as Judge has with the Laubach family. He is not just her handler, but Det. Nothstein says, “I typically say ‘partner,’ because we’re a team.” The Bethlehem Police SUV they use is “hers,” featuring a “Hot Pop” door release system purchased by Hounds on Working Leashes (HOWLs), a local charity that also acquired the safety vest she wears. She inherited several other pieces of equipment from Judge upon his retirement, including a large bathtub used for rinsing debris and soot from her after an investigation, purchased several years ago by Woodlawn. The cost of her acquisition and training was covered by State Farm; the city of Bethlehem and its police department carry nearly zero cost for her service, relying mostly on community donations and contributions from Det. Nothstein.
For more information on the State Farm Dog Program, visit www.arsondog.org. You also can follow Silver and Det. Nothstein on Facebook and Instagram by searching for SilverArsonK9, or email them at arsonK9silver@ptd.net. They are available year-round for community service and school-age programs. Woodlawn also invites the team to our annual Open House night, held in early October. ... See moreSee less
After tonight's gas leak, crews returned to forcible entry training on the door simulator at Greenawalds' station. The device allows for training on inward- and outward-swinging doors, requiring firefighters to evaluate the hinge locations, feeling for heat indicitative of a fire in the other side, and using tools to overcome a typical locking mechanism, which is simulated by a piece of wood. Lieutenant Sommers led the class and observed as firefighters used the irons -- a Haligan tool and a flathead axe -- to complete the task. ... See moreSee less
Monday night's forcible entry training for Woodlawn was interrupted by a natural gas leak on Whitehall Avenue, near the intersection with Latta Street and the fields behind Kratzer Elementary School. UGI was on the scene with an underground leak and was beginning emergency repairs, including digging; homes in the area were being evaluated by fire personnel for inside gas levels. Woodlawn is currently at the scene assisting Greenawalds (incident is in their area), along with Cetronia. Fire police from all three stations are securing the scene from traffic through this busy neighborhood. Please avoid the area. ... See moreSee less
UPDATE: Scene is about to be turned over to UGI and their traffic control personnel. Homes in the area all checked out safe. At this time, Whitehall Avenue remains closed between Huckleberry Road and Girard Avenue.