Panama City Firefighters Put Their Skills to the Test During Training

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Firefighters have a tough job and are constantly working to update their skills.

Last week, the Panama City Fire Department held a special week-long training session, and often these exercises could mean the difference between life and death.

Panama City Fire Department’s Assistant Chief, Gary Swearingen, said during the training session, the training chief recreated a real-life scenario that firefighters could face at any moment.

“They were presented with a car wreck, and it turned out to be a car hitting a building that caused a fire,” he said. “It blocked their main source of entry, so they had to find another way in. They had a total of six victims inside.”

Swearingen said the exercise made firefighters use a number of their skills.

“They did force-able entry techniques, they did search and rescue, both with a thermal imaging camera and without, the building was full of smoke so it was zero visibility,” he said.

Swearingen said the firefighters do a lot of training from September to May.

“They can make it where its repetitious enough that when they get on a real scene they can put the nerves out of the way and handle your job professionally.”

Once they finish the drill, the training chief will then critique them.

“He’ll go over what happened that was good, what happened that can be worked on, and these guys will take that information and perfect their skills with various drills on their own,” Swearingen said.

The firefighters will then do more classroom training in the summer months.

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