17,000 firefighters are trained in South Carolina each year. But refreshing that training is difficult because a lot of times it can only take place when a fire breaks out.
So hundreds of firefighters traveled to Columbia, to get some extensive, hands-on training. The groups practiced everything from entering a secured building to cutting a victim out of a crashed bus.
They’re from all over South Carolina. paid, volunteer, part-time. it gives them an opportunity to express some specialty skills to practice those things we encounter regularly but aren’t able to practice regularly,” said Dennis Ray, the superintendent of the S.C. Fire Academy.
Firefighters had to enter secured buildings using tools some firefighters are unfamiliar with.
Captain Jason Joannides with the Columbia Fire Department explained why this part of the training was important. “A lot of these saws that they’re using right now they’re called rotary saws. they’re very expensive. some departments have one. some have none.”
The firefighters used the saws to cut different types of locks they could run into on both residential and commercial buildings.
The group also worked under pressure to free a victim from a crashed bus.
Dennis Ray added, “When we’re dealing with these types of scenarios they’re very challenging because they create a different aspect. as you see behind me the rescuers are elevated they’re not working directly off the ground.”
The crews then moved on to cutting holes in roofs for ventilation and finding victims in a burning house.
But for those in the training it’s just a piece of the puzzle in making efficient fire departments.
“Being able to tie this in to medical calls. being able to get this hands on training bring it back and work on being a well-rounded department is where it’s at,” said Jake Hester from Spartanburg.