A closer look at training after Springville firefighter’s death on duty

A closer look at training after Springville firefighter’s death on duty
Training for firefighters can be extremely strenuous during the summer months. Officials say the key is staying hydrated along with medical surveillance. (Source: {WBRC})

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - When that call comes in, they roll out. But before rolling out, they must train.

“We’ll train with ladders or train with our PPE on, sometimes do burned building training," says Deputy Chief Mike Reid of the Pelham Fire Department.

A lot goes into it. And there’s so much each firefighter is expected to have on during training.

“The coat, and we also have the pants that they will put on. It’s very thick material that protects us. It has an outer lining but also an insulation lining on the inside that keeps us from being steamed,” says Reid.

Add to that a mask, hood, helmet and a self-contained breathing apparatus, and you’ve got an extra 60 to 75 pounds on your body. The key, says Reid, is staying hydrated. But there is also another precaution they take.

“Keep ourselves good and hydrated, we also do medical surveillance prior to and after we conduct the training for our crews, so we make sure all the vital signs are good,” says Reid.

Checking them before and after, so they know a firefighter can go back to work and be able to do their job. The Springville firefighter today died during recruit training at the facility in Anniston. A flag now stands at half-staff outside. And when one dies on duty, it has a ripple effect across the entire brotherhood.

“It’s a very close-knit brotherhood. You know, we feel for that firefighter’s family and the fire departments involved. It hits home for us, so it just makes us more aware of, you know, trying to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves and take care of our guys.”

Reid says Anniston is one of the top training facilities in the state. He says the instructors there are very experienced.

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