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Firefighter students get firsthand experience battling fire Submitted: 10/26/2013

Shardaa Gray
Reporter/Anchor
sgray@wjfw.com

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MERRILL - Fire fighters know how to handle a fire by using their experience.

The only safe way to do that is in a controlled environment.

You can't learn this in a classroom.

"You can't really set a fire like that inside of a classroom because of the building." said probationary firefighter, Bret Richardson.

"But out here, the facility the way its set up is that we can practice that in a safe controlled environment that you really couldn't get inside of a classroom."

16 students from the Northcentral Technical College learned what they should do when battling a fire.

"We learned about vertical ventilation and hydraulic ventilation in class this past week. As you can see behind me they're starting the hydraulic ventilation," student, William McCarron said.

"Sometimes that window will open and the water will start coming out. Just pulling smoke out of the room so we can see a little bit better."

This is the first these students have ever dealt with fire like this.

"They've learned about it in a classroom for the past 60 hours," NTC Fire and EMS director, Dough Jennings said.

"Now we're taking them through evolution that will expose them to heat, gases, visibility issues; practice for the real thing."

But houses aren't the only thing that catch fire.

"They're either going to have a car on fire, an engine fire. You handle those differently than you do a building fire." said Jennings.

"It gets pretty warm in there. You can feel it through your coat. The higher up we reach, you can feel a lot more." Richardson said.

Students learned they need to stay low.

If you're ever in this situation, you should do the same thing.

"Stay on the ground. We're trained to go around the rooms and check," McCarron said.

"If you're too high on a table or something like that and we can't reach it, we'll most likely miss over you."

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