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Martinsville Fire & EMS gives hands-on training with safety class

Martinsville Fire Dept. holding air track management training this weekend. Patrick County Fairystone Volunteer Firefighters taking class. (Photo: Courtny Jodon)

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WSET) --Martinsville Fire and EMS held a training Saturday and Sunday to teach firefighters more about fire behavior with Air Track Management Training.

The training is a three-section class that Martinsville Fire and EMS teach to surrounding counties and cities, even to other state departments.

"Also as far as Seattle, Washington... from LA County... that's come down and participated in this," Lieutenant Dwayne Robertson said.

The purpose? how to make firefighters safer by understanding present fire conditions as well as being able to identify the safest strategies to use when fighting flames.

Lt. Robertson said when you become a certified firefighter, you do learn about fire behavior, but only for a few hours.

"Just this class alone is 16-17 hours of fire behavior, so it gives you a time to build more on it," he said.

"It's a lot more hands on than just sitting in a classroom listening and hearing it, now you can actually experience it and see it," Lt. Robertson said.

During this first section of the class we were at Sunday, firefighters learned about the five different smoke conditions.

"They can get inside the prop," he said. "It's not a gas building, it's actually wood burning products. It's the closes thing we can get to room and contents fires, safely."

These classes are not required by each state, but many firefighters have told Lt. Robertson they believe they should.

"We have a lot of firefighters, 30-year veterans, come through this course and say, you know, I wish we would have had this way back when we did this... we could have learned so much more," he said.

Robertson said you can learn more about the physics aspect of fire behavior in these classes, rather than just training in gas burning buildings.

Chris Wagoner is the Assistant Chief with Fairystone Volunteer Fire Department in Patrick County. His crew was apart of the training.

"Over the last two days it's been a great learning experience, it's been a great learning lesson for all of us and we will be back," Asst. Chief Wagoner said.

If you're a certified firefighter and interested in taking the Air Track Management Training, you can contact Martinsville Fire and EMS.

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