Firefighters train to battle the blazes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters train to battle the blazes

Capt. Jeff Thibodeau Capt. Jeff Thibodeau
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September 16, 2003

Lowndes County - It takes a lot of intense training to battle the smoke, heat, and other dangers of fires. Live fire training is as real as it gets and puts firefighters in the center of harm's way.

Hahira and Lowndes County firefighters torched a dilapidated home to train for the real thing. "It really gives them a good demonstration of what fire behavior is, how it grows, how it acts," said Hahira Fire Chief Dwight Bennett.

A lighter ignited a pile of straw and wood pallets, and in less than 1 minute, the flames engulfed the ceiling. "This right here is the real deal," said Capt. Jeff Thibodeau. "It's 1200 degrees in here, and the smoke is so thick, you can't see anything, not even your hand in front of your face."

Firefighters started, then extinguished three separate fires to show the different ways fire travels. They say controlled home burns like this are the best way to train. "This is where the rubber meets the road, I mean, you can get any more real than this," said Capt. Jeff Thibodeau.

The training helps veteran firefighters perfect their skills and shows rookies the ropes. "The new firefighters get to see how hot it gets, how dark it can get, and how intense a fire is because some of them have never been on a call before," said Thibodeau.

Firefighters only get to take part in live burns about twice a year. But the rare chance at this training gives them the skills they need to safeguard you and your home.

posted at 12:45 by ashley.harper@walb.com