When the alarms sounds at a fire station the race to get out the door beings. National guidelines dictate a very quick 60-second turnout time. From boots to helmet and everything in between, you’re looking at a minimum of 45 lbs. of gear on a firefighter. And if getting on all the gear wasn’t tough enough, they’re pulling entire hoses off trucks, caring ladders and mostly importantly saving lives.
At the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Public Safety Training Academy trainers keep it real, very real. They queue blast of flames from a propane tank using a remote starter. Gadgets like a handheld fire remote create an intense and controlled training environment for the firefighters.
“Every call we go out on is different. We need to keep up on everything”, explains a firefighter.
It might look like a back lot of a movie studio with pyrotechnics and an indoor urban scene but this is where Montgomery county firefighters train for any possible fire situation. Fire fighter Lt. Todd Bayles explains being ready means always being able to train, “We have an indoor facility we can throw ladder pull hose line even when it’s raining out or at night.” Two huge burn buildings; a house and a 3-story apartment also stand at the ready on the 57 acre property.
The training is truly involves brains, brawn and rhythm.
“We affectionately call it the firefighter two step…they move toward a fire normally chemical fire from a tank--designed to go in shut off the fuel source”, says Amber Leizear is a program manager at the academy. After a fire is out firefighters walk backwards facing the extinguished fire just there is a flare up. Teamwork is paramount to ensure everyone’s safety.
In the name of safety, continuous training is part of a firefighter’s life. “We continue training so we don’t become complacent,” Asst. Chief Adam Jones explains. When the fire station gets a call firefighters know they can rely on two things; their extensive training and each other.