Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Prince William Forest Park Weeks 6,7 and 8

Over the past three weeks I spent my time with law enforcement.  The vehicle inspection project I was working on is almost completed, so I helped out with taking an inventory of all the equipment in the fire cache.  This is very important since there is a large amount of tools, clothing and other items in the building.  Accounting for all available equipment is crucial so that more can be ordered if necessary, and all personnel deployed to a fire have all the proper gear.  As for the other days with law enforcement, I patrolled the park with several rangers, working different shifts.  I rode along with one ranger and we had an intense rainstorm come through the park, with trees were falling down all over the roads.  We found one tree blocking the main road, Scenic Drive, near parking lot C and were going to wait there for the duration of the storm.  Eventually, however, we drove along Scenic Drive past parking D, but once we neared parking lot E, we found a vehicle with its windshield smashed in, and occupied by two people trapped inside.  At this point the ranger had to clear the tree down by parking lot C so a fire and rescue squad could drive up to extract the occupants.  He called assistance from Prince William County Police to help with the tree, which was huge, very thick and had completely blanketed the road.  He placed me in charge of managing the radio to our dispatch and the county police dispatch.  This was a great learning experience for me, since you never know when a critical incident such as this will occur, and you have to be ready immediately to take charge and manage resources arriving on-scene and provide essential updates about the scene, on anything from location to injuries of the vehicle occupants.  Once the tree was mostly cleared we raced up Scenic Drive toward the accident when another tree had fallen blocking the road and access to the scene.  Once that was clear we sped up to assist the people trapped in the car, along with the county police and rescue squad.  Thankfully there were no significant injuries to either person, and it was truly amazing it ended up that way, considering the damage their car received.  Over the next few hours the scene was cleared and my night was over, but it was a good opportunity to learn.  No doubt it was a fast paced shift, but it certainly goes to show this is what can happen at any given time when working as a law enforcement ranger. 
            Jess, Subhi, and I also were tasked with facilitating a park All-Employee Meeting.  We were put in charge of planning and developing the agenda for the event, as well as coordinating with all the various park teams on what foods and drinks to bring for the lunch afterwards.  I had an opportunity to do this last summer, and I was happy that we were able to do it this year as well.  The three of us put together a presentation on the Incident Command System (ICS), explaining a brief history of it, along with its key components and terms, while describing how it will apply for an event held here at the park this month.  This past Saturday the three of us drove with Dave Ballam up to assist with the Antietam Salute.  We helped with parking for the event, and got to catch up and work with one of our fellow ProRangers Jay Copper.  Overall, it was a very eventful few weeks, and I hope to learn and experience even more over the course of July.   

All Employee Meeting

Working a parking detail on Mumma Farm at Antietam


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