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Fire fighters like to tear stuff up



This car was set on fire so firefighters could practice their technique of how best to put it out. Photo by David Day

Firefighters like to tear stuff up, and it’s good training.

Firefighters stay in a constant state of training and learning to keep you, and them, safe. Last Thursday, June 17, Warren County firefighters met to develop the skills needed to safely and efficiently respond to motor vehicle accidents. This lesson focused on how to get into a vehicle using the “Jaws of Life” and how to put out a car fire.

Part of their training includes a very difficult-to-watch video of a first responder arriving on the scene of an accident. It opens to a vehicle towing a trailer with what looks like a big water tank on it on the side of a road. The vehicle doesn’t look damaged, but there is a body lying on the road. The responder grabs their medical kit to assist the person. As they approach the body on the road, they start coughing. A few seconds later, they are struggling to breathe. A couple of seconds more and the responder has also passed out on the road. The responder unknowingly walked into a colorless and orderless chemical cloud. The “water tank” was leaking a deadly chemical.

With this graphic example etched in their memory, firefighters assess each situation with the mindset “Is it safe to approach?” They then quickly switch to how to safely render aid. In the case of a vehicle with someone entrapped, after determining that it is safe to approach the vehicle, they then must stabilize the vehicle. Every fire truck and rescue vehicle carries some type of device to stop the vehicle from moving from where ever it is resting. If the situation calls for it they will also deflate the tires.

While some responders are working to stabilize the vehicle others are focused on getting to the person trapped in the car. Responders train on how to break the window glass efficiently and without harming the victim inside. Modern vehicles are incredibly safe and keep getting safer every year. These safety enhancements all center around wearing your seat belt and they have saved millions of lives.

Occasionally, an accident will occur where the person is trapped in the vehicle. Firefighters train for that scenario as well.

Wendell Blair, Tommy Dotson and Tim Wood train on getting inside a trunk using the “Jaws of Life.” Photo by David Day

If the car is on fire the same protocols are used – “Is it safe to approach? How do I best put out the fire?”

Every firefighter wants to be the one who works the nozzle. That is the fun part of the job, and the other parts are nowhere near as fun. Pulling that line off the truck and holding the line is hard work. In the Mississippi summer heat, wearing 70 pounds of protective wear makes it really hard work. But these dedicated souls train endlessly so that when an event occurs, they can fill in where ever they are needed to help save that person or put out that fire. This video shows the purposefully set training fire from its beginning to its end. As you can see they let the car get fully engulfed before they begin to extinguish it:

After the fire is out, firefighters walk to the debriefing area to discuss that day’s training. Photo by David Day


Fire Boss Jerry Briggs wraps up the training session after a two-week training session at the fire academy. Photo by David Day

Share Garrard and Fireboss Briggs just completed a two-week training session at the Mississippi Fire Academy. Below, Garrard proudly displays his certification from the grueling class. He was at the training session Thursday night and directed part of the class.

Even Shane Garrard continues to learn and train. Photo by David Day


If you want to help Warren County Firefighters and be a part of the solution in our community, you can contact Fire Boss Jerry Briggs at 601-218-9911. They will give you all the training you need to safely and effectively help your neighbors in their needs.


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Vicksburg Daily News