Firefighters put their skills to the test

Firefighters put their skills to the test

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Jonesboro Fire Department trucks lined a section of Red Wolf Boulevard on Wednesday. They looked as though they were battling fires, when in fact, they were undergoing training simulations.

Firefighters went through 2 homes set for demolition in the near future.

In the first house they went through a search and rescue scenario. In the second house, they practiced ventilating the structure from smoke.

Division Chief of Training Eric Simmons said getting to run drills in an unfamiliar structure will better prepare their firefighters for the real thing.

"We usually go to houses and we don't know what's on the inside," Simmons said. "We go in there with a lot of smoke and we try to search them and so we go in there and we don't really know what we're going into. That's the same thing we can do today."

Firefighter Keith Carter found the training exercises effective.

"The training exercises are valuable," Carter stated. "Not only for the firefighters. It benefits us. It gets our hands on these tools and helps us become more efficient with our equipment. It also serves a benefit for the community in that when we go out we're efficient, we're confident and we're able to get the job done in a timely manner. So, it's just an overall asset."

Simmons says they normally operate with a 3-man engine company.

"What we have is a captain, a driver and a firefighter," Simmons said. "The captain is in charge and he sends his firefighter and driver in to search and find the victims."

"The houses that we have here, that's real world stuff," Carter said. "It's just like what we would go through out on the streets in Jonesboro in similar type structures. That's what we encounter every day."

"Training is the most important thing we do," Simmons added. "To keep our techniques sharp, to be efficient. We want to be able to go in there and do it as quick as possible and to provide the service that we can to the best of our ability. And so, being able to have houses like this donated to us for a few weeks has really been invaluable for us to get out here and practice and really hone our skills."

Both houses were donated to the fire department for training by the Haag/Brown Commercial Real Estate.

The training scenarios will be completed by 114 firefighters.

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