Valdosta Fire Department holds live fire training - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta Fire Department holds live fire training

By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Firefighters in Valdosta spent hours battling a blaze today, but it was all part of a training exercise.

City firefighters, along with several from Moody Air Force Base, spent over four hours doing live fire training exercises.

A condemned home was set on fire, and new trainees got a hands-on lesson in fire fighting.

Chief J.D. Rice of the Valdosta Fire Department says, "We have some newly hired fire fighters that just came on board. This is the first time they're actually going to get some live fire training on different types of scenarios."

Instructors and veteran firefighters gave the trainees hand-on training, setting controlled burns that represented different situations they could face in the field.

"'Hands-on' gives people a real feel of what it's typically going to be like inside of a structure fire," says Chief Rice. 

About thirty firemen participated, battling the heat from the flames and the scorching summer temperatures.

"Everything was very positive, except for the heat," says Sgt. Carl Smith.  "It's kind of hot today! We're taking precautions to make sure everybody stays hydrated. We don't want anyone to get ill."

Firemen from Moody Air Force Base wore proximity crash suits, multi-layered reflective suits designed to be used at aircraft crash sites.  Today's structure training was an opportunity they don't often receive.

"Any time you can enhance a firefighter's capability to fight not only aircraft firefighting, but structure firefighting, it makes them better," says Chief Rice. 

Today's live fire training is a rare occurrence.  The Valdosta Fire Department must first clear the exercises through the city's legal system along with the Environmental Protection Agency.  

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