The Brusly Volunteer Fire Department was awarded second place in this year’s Louisiana State Fireman’s Association Competitive Drills Competition, which took place Saturday, April 27.
The four-man team, consisting of Taylor Robinett, Kade Loupe, Blake Panepinto and Jeff deVeer, were a mere 27 seconds behind the first place team, according to Brusly Volunteer Fire Department’s Assistant Chief Kenny Hunts.
Several teams from across the state participated in the competition, which tests fire departments’ skills and promotes brotherhood amongst the firefighters, at the West Feliciana Fire Protection District #1 training grounds in St. Francisville.
The Brusly Volunteer Fire Department’s four-man team also received prestige for holding the fastest time in the state in the SCBA drill, a drill to find how quickly team members can put on their personal protection equipment, including their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Hunts said that his men were trained to do this in a minute or less.
The annual Competitive Drills Competition consists of timed drills such as the hose roll, bucket brigade, water barrel exercises, a smoke maze, and various other obstacles. All exercises are timed. Out of an exhaustive list of drills, only five are picked each year.
The hose roll drill involves a member from each team rolling a fire hose from a straight line into a tight coil.
The “bucket brigade” drill had each of the four team members fill buckets with water from a large pool, carry the water-filled buckets up a ladder, and fill a large barrel to capacity, testing a teams ability to work together.
During the water barrel drill, teams shoot water from a fire hose into a barrel to test accuracy with the hose. Teams are timed on how quickly the barrel is filled.
“It’s all about the spirit of competition,” Brusly Fire Department Chief Mike Alleman said. “The guys are committed.”
“We practiced hard for it,” said Hunts. “It inspires everybody to come out and support.”
Hunts estimated that there were well over 300 people in attendance.
Alleman noted that several members of the Brusly community showed up to the competition to support the department during their drills.
The competition maintained a welcoming air to its supporters and included refreshments for the audience. During this time, a quarterly meeting took place to prepare the firefighters for their conference.
The winning participants of the Brusly team, Robinett, Loupe, Panepinto, and deVeer, are mostly volunteers for the department.
Chief Alleman said that he is optimistic about next year’s competition.
“I’m proud of the department. They showed unity,” he said. “Twelve seconds isn’t hard to overcome.”
He said he thinks the Brusly team may have a shot to climb to first place in next year’s competition, which will be in Marksville, La.
Hunts and Alleman exuded confidence in their team and both said they looked forward to competing there.
Hunts beamed with satisfaction and respect when he said, “It shows me that they have a lot of pride in what they do and they’re already hungry for it. They’re training right now. It means a lot to me to see them get together.”