Danville Firefighters Train to Save One of Their Own

Danville, VA - The worst thing that can happen to a fire department is to lose one of their own, and the Danville Fire Department is training to try to keep that from happening.

Tuesday night, they trained specifically on rescuing their fellow firefighters.

Every structure fire the Danville Fire Department goes to will have a team designated in case a firefighter needs help.

Leaders say they're prepared for the worst.

"In 1990 we had the worst happen. We lost two of our firefighters," said Captain Ray Earp.

That day touched the Danville Fire Department forever.

"We went to a standard, we thought regular house fire, and it turned out to be more. And we actually lost two of our firefighters inside the house that we had to go in and rescue, but unfortunately at that time it was too late," said Earp.

For many Danville firefighters, rescue exercises like these mean so much more.

"It's not an exercise we do for the sake of putting a mark on the training record that we've done this training. This is real to us," said Earp.

Every firefighter in the department will be put to this test, starting off their training in the classroom and then getting physical, practicing cutting through bars, pulling open doors, and even carrying out an unconscious firefighter.

"Training our whole department how to rescue somebody, how to get somebody out, so we won't be one of the statistics of losing a firefighter," said Battalion Chief Michael Jefferson.

Firefighters say the best approach is caution and knowing what to do to prevent the need for a rescue.

"We want every firefighter to go home. That's our goal. Our goal is to be able to go home to our family after shift," said Training Lieutenant Tim Duffer.

The firefighters also went through a practice house filled with smoke and obstacles to find a firefighter in need. The fire department plans to do this at least once a year.