Firefighters Learn New Rescue Techniques And Technology

(Gulfport) -- During a training session at the Firefighters' Conference in Gulfport, a vendor showed firefighters how to use a hydraulic rescue tool to reach victims who are trapped in their cars. Eddie James with TNT Rescue says when people have wrecks on the interstate or on roads, firefighters often respond. At times, they have to get the victims out of a vehicle. James say hydraulic rescue tools are the fastest means to spread or cut the metal, when you have people trapped.

And when people are trapped in a burning building, a ladder truck can reach new heights. One truck uses computers to control a ladder that can go 85 feet into the air. There's also a communication center in the bucket that allows firefighters to talk with people on the ground.

Firefighters say longer ladder trucks can help save lives on the Coast. Gulfport Deputy Chief Mike Bass says with more construction on the Coast, this area is seeing more high rises. He says this means firefighters have to have something to reach the taller structures, especially for rescue purposes.

Firefighters can also check-out other rescue equipment at the conference, and see the latest look in protective clothing. One vendor carries clothing made with a fire resistant synthetic material. The lining protects firefighters from the steam, and a blanket inside protects them from the heat.

The helmet also has a new design. It has two goggles. One protects the firefighters' face when they're using the jaws of life. The other one protects them from the heat and flames.

Firefighters say learning about all the new gear and technology gives them insight into the tools they need to better protect the public. George Mixon is the organizer of the conference. He says when firefighters go back to their Board of Supervisors or city councils, they can say they need the money to better protect lives and property.

Firefighters are also learning about fitness, how to test their gear to make sure it's in good shape, and new policies involving fire safety. The Firefighters' Conference ends on Sunday.

By: Trang Pham-Bui