Jackson, Summit Township Firefighters Learn Survival Skills

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

Getting out of a dangerous situation in the quickest, safest, way possible is the goal.

"This is training for us and the Jackson guys to save yourself if you get into a mayday situation," Lt. Jim Warner of the Summit Township Fire Department said.

It's called Rapid Intervention Training - or RIT- and for the past three days, firefighters from Jackson and Summit Township have been simulating not the best case scenarios, but the worst.

"If this room would become engulfed in flames, we're going to dive out this window, or make a hole in the wall and go into another room," Lt. Warner said.

The media was invited to join in Wednesday, so I was strapped with the 40 pounds or so of gear.

"You're going to sit down with your back to the wall," Lt. Warner told me.

In one scenario, we were getting out of burning room by crashing through a wall then slipping through studs.

"Crawl on your hands and knees, keep crawling," Lt. Warner said.

In another one, we had to find our way through tangled wires following a collapsed ceiling.

We crawled through small spaces, and climbed up walls to the second floor. Which I can tell you, is really, really tiring.

But by far my hardest task, and subsequently the one with my largest audience, was sliding down a ladder from the second floor... head first.

There was a sense of accomplishment for me at the end of the final task, but for the firefighters, this training is invaluable because these last-ditch efforts could one day save a life.

"If this actually happens. "Lt. Warner said, "you will know what to do, and calm yourself in an emergency situation."

The house on Losey Avenue in Jackson is owned by Miller Truck and Storage. It was slated to be demolished Thursday anyway, so the company donated it to the firefighters for training.

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