Gulfport Is Constantly Training Its Firefighters

A Gulfport firefighter stood on top of a cargo container behind Fire Station Number 3. He attached a security rope to his harness. Chris Henderson supervised the exercise. "What we'll do," Henderson said," is we'll lower Blake down, and lower him on top and let him do a rescue, and pull him out."

Gulfport is constantly training its firefighters, putting them in scenarios that they may encounter any given day, any given time.

"What we're going to be working on here is a trapped worker in a sewer line," Henderson said. The sewer line was actually nothing more than a hole cut into the top of the empty container. Gulfport firefighters use the training apparatus to work on all sorts of rescue techniques. They try to spend two hours a shift going over situations that require their expertise. That way, when they get called out to rescues like the one Tuesday at Grand Casino Gulfport, they know what it may take to pull someone out of harm's way.

"With any response like that," Henderson said, "I think any firefighter can tell you as soon as the alarm goes, there is that instant rush, and you get up and you start thinking about what you have to do and what to expect when you get there."

In the training exercise behind the Pass Road station, the firefighter lowered into the sewer line was able to save his victim. "Very good," said the trainer. "Of course these are controlled conditions, so it makes it a little easier."

It may be easy, but firefighter Henderson pointed out, even an easy exercise prepares his for a real emergency. Anytime we come home safe, that's a good incident, he said.