Sunday, May 27, 2012

Harpers Ferry NHP Internship: Week #2

This week was full of training.  The first two days we received Operational Leadership training and obtained our certificate.  Operational Leadership Training was a great way to be reminded about situational awareness.  Everyone can act as a functional leader when put in certain situations and it is best to have interdependent safety so that you can watch out for one another.  We felt that this training was very beneficial.  The third day we went to Prince William Forest Park to receive wild land fire training.  In the morning, before it got too hot, we completed the pack test portion of the training.  This consisted of walking three miles under forty-five minutes with forty-five pounds distributed throughout our upper body.  We completed the pack test in great time.  After the pack test we broke for lunch and when we returned we had more in store for the day. We conducted a fire line, established a shelter and acquired hose training.  Overall it was a great day, and we learned so much skills and knowledge.  If there were to be a fire that broke out in our park, we would be more than ready to help put out the fire.

We wanted to go more in depth about the Driving Training because it was administered by our very own supervisor Mark Howard. The day began in class with a power point about Non- Emergency Vehicle Operation (NEVO).  We went over many safety precautions like checking for weather conditions and road hazards including trees, gates, mailboxes, etc.  This is important because most vehicle collisions occur at low speeds when turning, backing up, and maneuvering in tight spaces.  Another concept we discussed was something new to us, pertaining to law enforcement- vehicle operational readiness.  This means that because we will not always be in our own vehicle that is set up with all of our equipment, we must check to make sure we have everything we need, including first aid, fire arms, and other important equipment.  Also to make sure the position of the mirrors, steering wheel and seat is accommodating for the safety of operating the vehicle.  A few tips we learned were to never multi-task while driving, to always have good visibility, honk when backing up, have a space cushion  ( 3 second rule) following distance from the vehicle ahead of you, and always expect the unexpected.  Mark Howard showed us on the power point a map of the driving course done at FLETC which was similar to what we would be practicing.

Then we went outside to the actual course where he walked us through the course.  The course starts out with a 3 point turn into a right parallel park, to a J turn and backing up into a spot, pulling forward and a left parallel park and then out.  We were all timed so that we could see our own progress, as we all got to give the course at least 2 tries.  The vehicles we could drive from included a Dodge Charger, Ford F-150, Ford Crown Victoria, Chevy Tahoe, Ford Expedition, and a RAM truck.  We all had fun completing the course in vehicles we might not have been familiar with, but may need to be one day.  Mark pointed out where we were making mistakes and helped us improve.  We were timed to see ourselves improve, which all of us did. It was a fun successful day of learning.

On Saturday we knew we were in for a surprise when lots of tourists started showing up to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend.  As parking can get over flooded; we were driving between parking lots making sure there was no illegal parking, and we each got a turn writing warning tickets.  We were reminded of how serious this job is when we were caught by surprise for a medical emergency.  A visitor became too overheated from the hot sunny day and nearly passed out and became unresponsive, and vomited. Mark handled the situation properly, being an EMT, as we assisted him in documentation and supplying him with the proper equipment he needed.  An ambulance came and the visitor was doing alright. Later that day we did some undercover work.  Renee and a volunteer dressed in civilian clothing and walked the shoreline of the Shenandoah River. When they saw people with open containers of alcohol and then casually sent a text to the supervisor. Supervisor Mark and Jackie went out to write them tickets.

While we were writing the blog in the Grandview LE Office, a former student and two former teachers came in to check out the building because it used to be Grand View Grade School, a segregated colored school.  On the left is Betty Pleasant Taylor, the 3rd and 4th grade teacher, in the center Paul Buddy Jackson, a former student, and on the right Galvin Jackson, the music teacher.  The teachers left the school in 1965.  We were very lucky for being here when they came to visit, and fortunate enough to get a picture with them.  This past week was full of excitement and surprises, and we are looking forward to what else we have in store for us.

Jackie Innella and Renee Benson


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    1. I am sure you had lots of fun doing the Driving Training! Did you get to spin out the cars? I think it was great that you met former members of the Grand View Grade School -- talk about history coming alive!

  2. Great blog! Enjoy your stay at Harpers Ferry. Hope you will remember me when you turn receipts and account #s in to budget during your future ranger careers :) .