Albany firefighters train for the real thing - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany firefighters train for the real thing

October 24, 2007

Albany--  We're heading into the months where firefighters begin to see more house fires as people cook more and pull out space heaters to stay warm. Albany Firefighters want to make sure they're ready to keep you safe.

Just after 3 Wednesday afternoon, thick smoke poured from the top of a building at the Marine Corps Logistics Base. Firefighters looked up high for the source.

"It's real hot in there," said Lieutenant Bruce Bennett.

Down below, bodies are pulled from the burning building. More brave ones move in with a plan of attack, but it's dark.

"You can't see anything until you get to the fire," said Bennett.

The smoke is thick. Eventually the hot spot is found at the back of the building. Firefighters work to quickly put it out.  It's out.  But it's not always this easy.

"This is only training to make sure we don't make any mistakes out there," said Training Chief Ron Rowe.

This is only practice. Once a year, the Albany Fire Department gets live fire training at MCLB. "What we have is our opponent which is the fire. We develop a game plan and we go and practice the game plan," said Rowe.

After 12 years, Lieutenant Bruce Bennett knows for sure that any fire is no game. "It never gets easy. There are some that are a little more routine than others but never easy," said Bennett.

And the real thing is never predictable so any advanced training that will help is welcome. "A lot of times with a real house fire, we don't have time to stop and look to see what's going on with the fire," said Bennett.

Training Chief Ron Rowe keeps a watchful eye. He wants any mistakes to be made here. "We have 150 people in our suppression unit and we try to make sure they all get the experience of coming out here to make sure their skills are kept sharp," said Rowe.

That way if any of these members of AFD have to come to your smoky door, they're prepared for the worse.

The live fire training also helps the department keep up with state safety regulations and objectives. They have ten more days of training.  

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