Practice makes perfect

By Staff
Jason Cannon, FCT Publisher
With structure fire calls this fall so far at a minimum, the Russellville Fire Department has turned to the practice field to hone their skills.
The department held a practice exercise yesterday, designed to keep the fire fighters alert and aware of what they'll face in a live fire.
"We don't get too many structure fires," Chief Joe Mansell said, "which is a good thing, but we still have to make sure our guys are ready when one comes along."
Yesterday's drill consisted of a smoke drill, in which a 150-pound "victim" was placed in a smoke-filled room.
Two firemen were sent inside, in full gear, to make the rescue.
"We want them to remember what it's like inside there, when you can't see anything, and you don't know where you are or where the victim may be," Mansell said. "Fire fighting is like anything else, you need to practice if you want to get better."
Later yesterday afternoon, the crew went up a 40-plus foot steel tower and practiced repelling down and performing various rescue maneuvers while suspended above the ground.
"Here in Franklin County, there may never be much of a call for us to use something like this," Mansell said. "But since the department is a medium rescue unit, we could be called at any time where we might have to repel down the side of a building or down a cliff."
Mansell said the department also expects to undergo a live practice burn at a local home in the coming months.