March 23, 2013
Firefighters from all over Virginia came to Albemarle County on Saturday to go to 'Truck School'. This training doesn't involve gallons and gallons of water or an actual fire but gives firefighters hands-on experience for search and rescue, utility control and self-rescue.
If it's 3:00 a.m. and you wake up to a room full of smoke and can't find a way out, fire crews have to get to you somehow. Truck School training gives firefighters the experience they need to get in and get out without any hesitation.
"When you start freaking out, you can just say I know what I need to do in this situation because I've done it a hundred times before and you know everyone goes home," said Sean Europe, a first-time student at Truck School and a firefighter in Alexandria.
"A firefighter can't just go out and cut a hole in a roof or rack a hole in a wall. So, this gives them an opportunity to practice these skills and hone those skills and learn things from other instructors from across the state," said Assistant Fire Chief Dennis Hahn of Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department.
Truck School training is unique because there is no actual practice of fighting a fire but instead it's about getting into the burning building, getting any victims out and getting the firefighter out themselves.
"When you meet adversity, you don't rise to the occasion, you fall to your level of training. So, all of this is training becomes muscle memory. When it happens, you don't have to think about it. You just do what you've been trained to do," Europe said.
Hahn says without the community support of donating materials, metal, doors, dry wall or tools, the training wouldn't happen and students wouldn't get this experience they need.
Hahn also says it's a training that comes full circle. Students have already asked to come back next year and even become an instructor for Truck School.