Leave Your Couch for Real Action in Royersford

A Royersford firefighter (at top) pulls hose from a truck as he prepares to battle a blaze

ROYERSFORD PA – If you’ve ever dreamed of being a firefighter, or longed to know what it was like to experience a day as a first responder in occasionally dire circumstances, the Royersford Fire Department has an offer you may need to wait for … but believes you won’t want to pass up.

“You don’t have to be a member to experience what it’s like to put out a real fire,” department firefighter and community relations representative Adam Alberico says. That’s because the department is ready to provide what he describes as the opportunity of a lifetime: “a three-part experience that will take you from your couch to inside a real fire.”

Do you have what it takes?, he asks.

In what is both a firefighter recruitment effort and an attempt to help the public better understand how firefighters work and the perils they face, Royersford is staging a mock exercise that, so to speak, puts participants into the heat of battle. Sessions for the first class are scheduled for Sept. 22 and 29 (2022; Thursdays), each from 7-9 p.m.; and Oct. 1 (Saturday) from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Only 10 spots for those age 18 or older are available for the opening event, which is where the wait comes in.

The department has promoted the offering on its Facebook page, and response has been encouraging. Alberico reported Monday (Aug. 29) the initial slots are “almost full right now,” but registrations for future openings are being accepted through Sept. 14 (Wednesday). If the interest is sufficiently strong, he said, “we will hold another class at a later date.”

How the sessions shape up

Here’s what Alberico said the department has planned for its inaugural class:

  • The two-hour session on Sept. 22 at the fire station on Walnut Street is where participants will meet with firefighters, learn about the department and what’s ahead in the experience, and get sized for their fire gear.
  • The next session, again two hours on Sept. 29 at the station, provides core instruction. Participants will learn about search and rescue techniques, and what’s involved in attacking a fire. They’ll also put on and learn to use self-contained breathing apparatus, and their fire turn-out gear.
  • In the third session, on Oct. 1, class begins at 7:30 a.m. with a light breakfast, the distribution of commemorative T-shirts, and a review of the day’s plans. Participants and firefighters pack up at 8:15 a.m. and head for Skippack where, in a controlled facility known as a burn building, they will use equipment and skills learned for their involvement in five “evolutions” of live fire burns between 10 a.m. and noon. The burn tests will be preceded by a walk-through of the building and discussion of what participants can expect.
  • The Oct. 1 session ends at 12:30 p.m. as participants, just like firefighters everywhere, perform clean-up duties, store gear and other items so they’re ready for the next emergency, and depart the burn building. What follows from 1:15 to 2 p.m. will be a celebration of the effort, with lunch supplied by Outback Steak House and a question-and-answer period.

Intrigued? If so, Alberico said he invites questions and the desire for more information. Send him an e-mail at aalberico@rfd98.org, or call him at 267-693-7200.

Photo a screenshot from video available from the Royersford Fire Department
Graphic provided by the department