GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Being trapped in a burning building is a worst case scenario that Gulfport firefighters want to be ready for. Danielle Thomas takes us to a training exercise to help firefighters learn to save one another and themselves.
The scenario is a scary one. Gulfport firefighters rush into a burning building and soon find the way they came in, is no longer a way out.
"We're pretending like the door has been collapsed," said firefighter Wayne Smith. "We can't get out that way. Then you've got to get in there and bust through the wall to get out of that room. And it just really wears you down."
A smoke machine helped emulate the low visibility firefighters would face in a real life situation. They learned four different ways to break through walls, concrete and drywall, and crawl to safety.
Training Chief Tim Holliman said, "On average if you're going though a block wall, it's going to take firemen working pretty hard between five and 10 minutes. That's steadily getting it."
"You're in there with upwards of 400 to 800 degrees waist level. Ceiling height you're looking at 1,200 to 1,500 degrees. So it's pretty hot," Holliman said. "So we try to teach them to stay as low as possible and working on your knees putting a sledgehammer through a concrete wall is pretty tasked."
Firefighters are also learning how to rescue team members in trouble.
"One of the events that we're doing today is we are ventilating a roof," said Holliman. "If somebody fell through the roof and our job is to go get them then lowering a hose to them below level and then they're getting on the hose and we're pulling them up to the roof top to get them back to safety."
Smith said, "If I get into a situation and I know it's a bad situation, I've got these guys behind my back and they're going to do everything they can to get me out."
Gulfport firefighters are training inside a commercial on Pass Road that will be torn down to make way for a new Walmart.
"It's a stressing job at times. They are my brother and I want to make sure that they are taken care of," Holliman said. "We pull together when times are hard. During training we take it very serious. We would hate to see any of us ever go down in a fire, but if we ever get a collapsed structure that we're trapped in and we need to get out, we're training in ways that we know how to get ourselves out and be successful."