PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - More than 50 volunteer firefighters received special hands on training Saturday, courtesy of the Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula. Real is the key component in this training session.
"We want to make sure that when people come face to face with the real thing in a real environment, they have already trained, they've already seen it, and they've felt it," Chevron Safety Manager Don Kinkela explained.
The volunteers don't have to be convinced.
"It's very real," Bethanye Riley said. "And they put us in predicaments. I was in the house and it was very scary because it's all dark and you couldn't see anything. And the fires, it feels really real."
These are fires that happen all the time, according to Chevron Fire Specialist Teddy Riley.
"It's stuff that they could run into at a gas station in the community or gas trucks that are on the highway every day. They get a little bit of all of it," Riley said.
That includes going into a simulated burning home. Inside, what you see is smoke and darkness. So what happens once you enter?
"You just put your left or right hand on the wall, and you follow the pattern. And you have a partner with you extending out so you can find your victim, grab the victim, and get out of the house," Jon Spicer explained.
It takes teamwork, and a lot of heart to bring these fires under control quickly. The training is about as real as it gets, and not coincidentally, so are the physical effects.
"I got pretty drained and got too hot and they put me in the trailer over there with air conditioning and cooled me down after being that close to danger," Haley Pry said. "I mean, most people are running away while we're going towards it."
And because of this training, they'll do that even better in the future. Chevron has hosted the free training sessions for the past several years.