New Bern Fire-Rescue conducted an exercise Friday, where they practiced rescuing one of their own; a fellow firefighter who has gone down.
It’s called rapid intervention training. As any member of the companies involved will tell you, it’s anything but rapid.
Members of NBFR’s Ladder 1, Tower 1 and Engine 11 companies had to battle their way through a smoke-filled home, crawling through small holes and wire-filled boxes, among other obstacles. They do all this with heavy, bulky equipment on their backs.
Lieutenant Steven Jerome says “it's not only physically challenging but mentally challenging. You don't know the layout it's hot, you can't see."
Engine 11’s Trent Jarman and Ray Hayes were the first company into the building. Jarman said he “had to use the thermal camera to find our way through there." Hayes agreed saying they “could see a foot, a foot or two at most."
Two man teams entered the building one at a time, each making their way as far as they could towards their fallen comrade before their air tanks hit about 50 percent. Since they had to go back the same way they came, at this point, they needed to turn around. (Normally after they located whomever they were attempting to rescue they would knock a hole in a wall, go through a window, or whatever exit was fastest) “It took roughly seven separate companies to pull one man out,” said Lt. Jerome, “but overall the guys did very well.”
Hayes told us they train for numerous situations, both in physical and mental exercises. Their practice totals about 240 hours a year.