PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– Panama City Beach Fire and Rescue put their rookies to the test to see if they have what it takes to be a firefighter.
Panama City Beach Fire and Rescue partnered with Gulf Coast State College to give real-life hands-on experience to their trainees. The new firefighters participated in “Rookie School.”
This is only the seventh class to go through with the program. The rookies learned equipment techniques, survivor drills, and live fire evaluations.
“They push us harder and push us a little further, and it is not them trying to be jerks; it is just them showing you, look you think you’re done but your body can really do more,” said rookie firefighter Nathan Pickett.
During the live fire evaluation, the new firefighters had to be prepared for every situation. Each firefighter worked together to save adults and children from a simulated burning building.
“Here today, it is 85 degrees and the wind is blowing and it feels good even in this gear,” said Pickett. “However inside, it can be anywhere from 100 to 300 degrees and you have all this gear on, and you are breathing air out of a tank. It’s just a very uncomfortable situation.”
Panama City Beach Fire and Rescue developed the program about four years agao.
Eight firefighters went through the program this week.
“We try doing things under live conditions to try and indoctrinate these folks into what they could face in the real world,” said Panama City Beach Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Justin Busch.
All of the simulations during the live fire evaluations are based on real-world events that Panama City Beach Fire and Rescue experienced and said they do not want to repeat.