BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Members of the Biloxi Fire Department took part in specialized training in a controlled environment on Wednesday.
The training was held at a house on Camp Wilkes Rd. Battalion Chief Andy Mason says the goal is to develop a universal method of emergency response that can be used in stations across the department.
"The more they work together, the more effective they are," Mason said. "They're used to what each other's strengths and weaknesses are. We want a working scene to go the same, or similar, from station one to station nine. All throughout, no matter what shift you work, what station you work, everything operates the same."
This training doesn't involve fire yet. The initial sessions involve filling two rooms with smoke and treating it as an actual fire situation.
"One of our main instances is making sure we're wearing all of our P.P.E. and that also we're most effective on finding somebody, and also if one of our own went down," said Mason. "Our command units know where they are, how long they've been in there and what it's going to take us to get resources to them. "
For Captain Rodney Strickler, this kind of training is invaluable to his team.
"Doing stuff like this in a smokey environment, it takes your senses away and makes you rely on stuff that you just don't typically use on a normal day," Strickler said.
He thinks the training helps reinforce safety standards for everyone involved with fighting fires.
"First and foremost, communication is key on something like this," said Strickler. "That's what we're out here practicing. That's what it comes down to, keeping everybody safe, keeping accountability for all these crews out here. Making sure we all go home at the end of every shift."
Now that all stations have gone through the smoke training, the next step for the department is to set the house ablaze and train in an actual fire. Mason says that should take place in February.