Leland firefighters take on real blazes for training

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LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Did you notice any smoke in the Leland area on Saturday? If so, it was probably coming from a live fire training at Town Hall Drive.

Live fire training sessions like this one are much more than practice. They are team building exercises, and give an opportunity for firefighters who may never have been on a call to get a realistic chance to see what exactly they could be up against.

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“The last thing you want is for a firefighter to be going to a house fire a 3 o’clock in the morning and be the first time they’ve ever seen fire,” Assistant Fire Chief Brandyn Smith said.

When the alarms sound and the trucks head out to a fire, these firefighters will be ready after a long day of realistic training.

“A lot of smoke, zero visibility just trying to feel your surroundings,” Firefighter Jerry Craft said.

Craft said this hands on training experience is the best opportunity to be exposed to a fire in a controlled situation and feel prepared for when the real time comes.

“It gets us a hands on experience to know what we got to fight when we have to go out to fight this kind of stuff, because you never know what you’re going to run into,” Craft said. “So we need to be prepared.”

The Town of Leland gave the Leland Fire Department along with nine other surrounding stations a chance to burn Leland’s old town hall, throwing them right into the flames.

“Obviously our primary goal here is to keep everyone safe, but if we are going to have a teaching point, if there is going to be some type of error we would like to have it here in a controlled environment where we can correct it and make it a training moment for the student,” Smith said.

Smith said this is the best way to teach, so these men and women can combat anything from a small kitchen fire to a massive burn.

Smith also said he is thankful to the town for giving them this training opportunity. They have already completed several similar training sessions this year, but this was the last one until the fall.