ABA Banking Journal - January 2012 - (Page 44)
First person | mike foreman
Learning the ropes and hoses
Firefighting’s a family tradition for this Pennsylvania banker
Rescuing people in burning buildings takes guts. It also takes training. Knowing how to use a “Halligan bar”—12 pounds of steel, just short of a yard long—to bust open a door can be critical. But so can knowing how to use it to secure a rope when you’re trapped by flame and smoke, and the only path to safety is to rappel out the window. Volunteer firefighting and fire training has been part of Mike Foreman’s life as far back as he can recall. His father, Tom, 63, has been an officer and member of the Middletown (Pa.) Volunteer Fire Department since the 1970s, and Mike, 28, spent many hours down at the firehouse as a kid. From the ages of 14-18, he was a full-fledged trainee able to work “I don’t see danger” in fighting fires, says Mike Foreman. “I’m trained.” Continuing ed his way up to actual firefighting. As is a must. See more visuals (and the Halligan bar) at http://tinyurl.com/ropesandhoses a newbie, “you’re constantly cleaners in forcible entry, technical resing and maintaining,” says Foreman, who is a relationship manager at $590 cue using tools such as the “jaws million-assets Atlantic Central Bankers Bank, Camp Hill, Pa. Around 16, of life” and more. He’s qualified to Foreman began riding the engines and helping out at scenes. At 18, he could help teach new firefighters to put enter burning buildings. out “live burns,” which are gener“People are always amazed at how much training you have to go through ally simulated by setting fire to hay, before you can go in,” says Foreman. He says continuing education is a must straw, and shipping pallets. for volunteer firefighters—two or three nights a month. That puts off some One thing you can’t teach is what people. But it’s also the key to feeling ready to go in where most people want it’s like to be in a burning buildto get out. “I don’t see the danger in it,” he says. “I’m trained.” ing. “You try to stay in as long as Volunteers like Foreman look forward to unusual training opportunities. you can,” says Foreman, to get to Recently, he and fellow firefighters spent an evening in an office building trapped people. Once inside, fires slated for the wrecker’s ball. “This was a real treat for us,” says Foreman. The “can get eerie,” he says. team had been given permission to practice commercial building forcible Foreman’s department averages entries. Foreman was in there, swinging an eight-pound, flat-head ax, ham30-40 actual fire calls annually, and mer-side-first, to drive in the versatile Halligan bar and pop open a locked sometimes people die in spite of door. (Firefighters call this “ax and irons.”) best efforts. Perspective helps. “The Halligan bar does 100 different jobs,” says Foreman. “I own one “It is what it is,” says Foreman. personally, and I even use it for all kinds of things at home.” “You didn’t put them in that situaHe’s not only a fully qualified volunteer and emergency medical technition. But you extended every poscian, he’s an experienced trainer of other firefighters, both at his department sible effort once you came.” and at the Harrisburg Area Community College. —Steve Cocheo, executive editor Foreman teaches new recruits the basics, and instructs other firefight44 | ABA BANKING JOURNAL | January 2012
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