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Firefighters Practice Life-Saving Techniques - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Firefighters Practice Life-Saving Techniques

Posted: Updated: March 24, 2013 06:52 PM EDT

On Sunday, firefighters from across Virginia rushed into a building full of smoke, searched for people trapped inside, and freed themselves from obstacles along the way as part of a training drill to save lives.

Even though this was all for practice, the drills were as close as they come to a real life fire rescue. They gave firefighters a chance to hone their skills and get ready for action.

Thirty-seven firefighters from across Virginia came together over the weekend for the Walker Sisk Memorial Truck School, in memory of a Seminole Trail firefighter who loved riding on the truck tower and doing practice drills. Most of the people who practiced on Sunday were seasoned firefighters. But they say it's always important to learn new techniques and discover how they can work faster and smarter.

The firefighters practiced techniques like forcing open doors in homes and businesses.

"There are techniques that are quicker and easier than just brute force," said Chief Daniel Tawney of the Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department.

They practiced cutting a hole in the roof to create an escape for the smoke, breaking a window too high for a ground ladder to reach and getting out of dangerous search scenarios.

"[We are] Always looking for ways to improve what we do," Tawney said.

Seminole Trail volunteer Jordan Kline said untangling herself from a trap in a dark basement was the most intense search drill she has ever done.

"My helmet was stuck in wires, my pack was stuck in wires and so you have to remain calm, you have to control your emotions but at the same time it's scary when you know your air supply is limited and you have maybe 10 minutes to get out," she said.

Kline says the hands-on experience and guidance of the 22 teachers she worked with will stick with her in the field.

"There's a lot of wisdom coming from the guys who've been running for 30, 40 years," she said. "That's one of the unique things about the fire service is the willingness of folks to teach," Tawney said.

Now after a weekend of learning and honing their skills, these firefighters are ready to rush to the rescue.

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