THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - New standards set by the National Fire Protection Association require firefighters to go through intense training drills every year to test respiratory fitness.
Thursday morning, Thomasville firefighters trained to see just how long they could last with a single tank of air.
Thomasville firefighter went through seven different drills.
It's the first time the department has set up realistic obstacles to test how long it takes one of them to use up all the air in this one life-saving tank.
Derek Knight with Thomasville Fire Rescue said, “Before given a task, whether it's venting a roof, or doing a search of a house, or attacking a fire, you want to know what your limitations are before you get to it.”
Six-story stair climbs, followed by hose pulls, ladder raises, and 200-pound dummy drags were just some of the different drills each firefighter went through.
Each drill simulated real-life situations that compromise just how much air each firefighter requires in a tank.
Chief Training Officer Craig Dukes said, “The harder you work, the harder you breathe. Once you get inside, especially working a structure fire when your body temperature starts heating up, it causes you to breathe more.”
This self containing breathing apparatus is supposed to last for at least 30 minutes. But that depends on each person's physical condition.
Knight said, “Someone that may not smoke, may be physically fit, they do a lot of cardio and running, they'll be able to go longer than someone who is out of shape, or may smoke, or does no physical activity.”
Chief Dukes said most firefighters lasted up to 17 minutes before running out of air.
He says some friendly competition among the guys will hopefully improve their performance in this summer's next training session.