Firefighters in the Amherst area were put to the test today in a live fire training session. Three volunteer companies, Getzville, Snyder and Eggertsville, battled an actual fire and trained alongside each other Wednesday to solidify safe firefighting techniques.
Getzville Fire Chief Scott Preston has noticed that more and more often, these three companies are fighting the same fires. That's why they planned a group training session.
"We thought it'd be a good idea to take some basic skills and work together as a group," he said. "So that when we're on a fire ground, we can work better together."
Lieutenant David Morales with Getzville Fire is also a photographer with 7 Eyewitness News. He attached a camera to his helmet to give us a firsthand look at what the volunteers go through inside the burn room.
"I am kind of the go to photographer for the fire company," he said with a smile. "It's just kind of what I'm good at, so it's what they make me do. I don't mind it."
The point of the training is to put firefighters through realistic scenarios so when they face the real thing, they're ready.
"They'll still have the smoke and the heat that they have to deal with," Getzville Firefighter David Nowak explained. "That brings up the stress level with the firefighters and if you can train with that stress level, you're going to perform better when you're called on the fire ground."
Morales says this type of training becomes very important when firefighters finally get into the field.
"We have a saying, 'in the heat of the battle you will not rise to the occasion. You will default to your standard of training'," he said.
While it is a training session, the dangers these firefighters face are very real.
"With the fire that's in the burn room, they're going to be encountering fires that are upwards of 800 degrees, maybe a little better than that," Nowak said. "Kind of real life scenarios."
For Morales, this training is an important part of the job.
"It's a tremendous privilege to be a firefighter," he said. "The community expects a lot out of us. We owe it to the community to be as best we can, to be as well trained as we can."