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Jacksonville firefighter training

Despite recent rain, fire danger is still extreme and burn bans are still in effect. Because of the recent fires, the Jacksonville Fire Department is conducting live fire training to make sure they are ready when the real thing happens.
JACKSONVILLE, AR – Despite recent rain, fire danger is still extreme and burn bans are still in effect. Because of the recent fires, the Jacksonville Fire Department is conducting live fire training to make sure they are ready when the real thing happens.

Firefighters trained in a special 4-story building. A fire is set in one of the burn rooms, the strategy is to create a realistic fire emergency where crews have to use their instincts to battle different fire situations.

"We got into the fire room there and it was blazing pretty good. So we waited a little bit and watched the fire and used our thermal imager. Then had one of the guys apply water to it in a stream pattern,” said Captain Bill James.

Firefighters say this is as real as live fire drills get. As one team enters, another team is ready if something goes wrong.

"Zero visibility with actual smoke and heat, we're generating good temperatures within the building,” says Thomas Baldridge, an engineer with the fire department. “There's various safety features in place here so we can comply with standards in place and make sure it's as safe as possible to do live fire training."

This is the first year for Jacksonville firefighters training in this new $4 million facility and they say especially now with the dry conditions the practice they get here is crucial.

“We go in, see the smoke, we have a thermal imager, we can see through the smoke with it so everybody gets to see how that works, because it's real," says James.

While this is a controlled environment firefighters say the flames are never predictable and one false move could change the outcome.

"Every fire I've been to is always different.”

The firefighters will use this training facility once every quarter. Besides the fire building, there's also a driving pad and shooting range so police can train here too.
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