Training exercise preps firefighters for academy

Published 5:00 am Friday, June 23, 2006

Brookhaven firefighters received a little extra trainingThursday evening courtesy of a local car dealership owner.

Nissan car dealer Paul Barnett donated an abandoned house on hisproperty west of town to the Brookhaven Fire Department to be usedas a training exercise. People traveling down Brookway Boulevardcould see the billowing smoke from the house for over an hour atsunset. The house was located on Saints Trail just outside the citylimits off the west end of Brookway Boulevard.

Brookhaven Fire Chief Bob Watts said the event was an excellentopportunity to train new firefighters. He expects two new recruitsRichard Tucker and Kirby Ebbers to attend the Mississippi StateFire Academy in Pearl in September and October.

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“You can’t get any more practical experience than that,” Wattssaid of the training exercise.

Capt. Tony Weeks supervised the training last night and set upthe scenarios, Watts said. One exercise involved placing a rescuedummy somewhere in the house and letting firefighters locate thedummy in smoke-filled rooms.

“Another scenario is setting the house on fire and letting theguys go in and put it out,” Watts said.

Watts said firefighters can go through the academy and still nothave the courage to enter a burning home in a real situation.Holding real-life training exercises in a controlled environmentgives new firefighters a feel for the job.

“When it gets down to the nitty gritty, sometimes they don’thave what it takes,” he said.

Capt. Robbie Thibodeaux was also at the exercise last night. Hesaid the training exercise was good experience for new firefightersand helps them get ready for the fire academy.

Watts said firefighters must be certified within one year ofcoming to work at the fire station.