By: Kelly Schlicht Email
By: Kelly Schlicht Email

Though these fire fighters at Chippewa Valley Technical College are just going through a practice round, they're treating this fire situation like the real thing.

"We did some extrication work, some live burn work, and some gas meter for the fire 2 exam,” says Jonathan Gaulke, of the River Falls Fire Department.

Before taking the state certification test, the firefighters in training get mobile training in this tactical trailer, which has many different fire situations, simulating real life.

The 400 thousand dollar trailer is on loan from the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, and demonstrates three settings: A living room, kitchen and multi-level area.

"We can run the students through rather fast you don't have to worry about the wood re-igniting because it's all propane in there,” describes Instructor Jack Running. “Again, it's fully controlled, it's actually computerized and it's very safe."

The hands-on training gets the crews ready for the big exam in April, while giving them the chance to battle blazes hands-on and build team-work skills.

"It builds self-confidence in the student,” says Running.

And while the fire fighters say this training has been a unique experience, they say it can never really prepare you for the emotional battle of putting out a fire.

"My first car accident,” recalls Shane Hanson, when asked what incident has had the most impact on him so far. “Somebody trapped inside and the sirens, helicopters landing, just all that and being able to help that person, and get them the help they needed."

More than 10 different area fire departments participated in today's training for the April 18th exam. The fire fighter students say they can't wait to get out and save lives.


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