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Firefighters learn how to save themselves

Covington Fire Department  Firefighter Jeremy Mathis practices exiting an upper window and will slide down the fire hose to safety.

Covington Fire Department Firefighter Jeremy Mathis practices exiting an upper window and will slide down the fire hose to safety.

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In this scenario, Newton County Fire Service firefighters learn how to rescue a fellow firefighter who just fell through a floor to the basement below. They tossed him the hose they had been using to fight the fire and he was able to climb out. The advanced survival training was provided by Professional Rescue and Fire Training out of Calhoun. Staff photos by Erin Evans

COVINGTON -- The Covington Fire Department is hosting training this week for both their firefighters and those with the Newton County Fire Service. They are learning how to watch out for themselves.

"We're training all the time on how to save everybody else, but sometimes we forget how to save ourselves and our partner," said newly appointed Fire Safety Educator Specialist Randy Ross.

Professional Rescue and Fire Training of Calhoun is providing the advanced survival training, which involves eight different stations including a wall breach, drag and carry, moving a firefighter up and down stairs, hot bottle (air canister) swaps, rope bailouts, ladder and hose bailouts, rescue using hose and rope to get out of a basement, and an entanglement drill. Each shift of firefighters will receive a full day of training.

"This is not the training you receive in basic firefighter training as a rookie," said Bobby Moss, the company's lead training instructor and coordinator. "This is advanced rescue techniques they can use on their own, like a tool in a tool box."

The training is taking place on City Pond Road at some soon-to-be demolished houses.

"This is one of those circumstances were we were just lucky,"explained CFD Capt. Tony Smith. "The city ended up purchasing these houses for the airport expansion and we were able to come out here and train in them prior to demolition."

Ross explained that this type of training is especially important.

"This is for their own personal safety. If they were to be trapped in a burning house, this is so they will know how to get out," he said.

A floor can fall through and with this training, firefighters learn how to throw a hose down to their fellow firefighter and pull him to safety. Should they become entangled in hanging wires, ductwork and other items typically hidden from view in a home, this training teaches them how to extricate themselves. They learn to come out of windows without a rope, but using their hose instead.

"This kind of training comes very rarely," Ross said. "You can only emulate so many scenarios behind a desk and sitting in a classroom. With a house like this and training people coming in and helping us, it's so much easier."