BOONE COUNTY, Ill. (WTVO) — An old house set to be demolished becomes a useful tool in a local fire departmnet’s training.
They give us an exclusive look of what it is like for firefighters to practice battling real flames.
After receiving a permit from the state, the North Boone Fire Department used an old house for fire training this weekend. The owner of the house said it was going to be knocked down and offered it to the fire department.
District 3 Fire Chief Dan Zaccard says this type of training helps firefighters immensely.
“This is as realistic as we can get it. Going into a burn tower is great but nothing changes inside. Watching videos, that’s good too, but nothing beats the real deal and this is the real deal,” said Chief Zaccard.
North Boone was one of four fire districts to use the hold house and train together. Chief Zaccard says the training focused on creating a real house fire call using inflatable dummies, intense smoke, and air tanks.
“Today we’re doing three squads going in. Attack crew, event crew, and a backup line, and one crew staying out, the R.I.T., rapid intervention team. So this is what we do for real at a house fire and we’re going to do evolution after evolution until everybody’s dead tired,” he explained.
Zaccard says it’s been challenging to recruit volunteer firefighters to smaller departments because of the mandates.
“The time committment away from your family, you know, middle of the night going on calls, weekends doing training, it just gets harder and harder to get people to do it,” explained the chief.
With a new 3-year program through the Illinois Fire Service Institute for young firefighters launching soon, Zaccard remains hopeful with the next generation of firefighters.
“This is what small communities need and we’ve got a good group of people gelling well right now and ready to train,” added Chief Zaccard.
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