Firefighters practice rescuing victims at fraternity house

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COLUMBIA - Columbia firefighters practiced techniques in searching and removing victims from burning buildings on Monday at the Sigma Nu house. The practice specifically focused on helping people out of smoky fires.

The Columbia Fire Department kicked off the practice session in the morning, and all 37 firefighters on duty participated in the training on Monday.

Lisa Todd, the captain of training division of the department, said the two-day rescue intervention training is aimed at teaching the firefighters how to search in structures and move a person out in a fast and efficient fashion.

"It's gonna be very helpful because in case someone gets hurt, one of the firefighters gets hurt," Todd said. "We found throughout the nation that most of our firefighters that are dying, seem to be dying when we know where they're at, we just can't get to them."

The training took place at the Sigma Nu house which is about to be torn down. The department obtained permission from the property owner to use the building for training.

The owners also allowed the firefighters to break windows and search inside for training purposes.

"It's vital to us because we don't always get this. When we train in our facility, at the training academy, everybody knows the floor plan. So when we can put them into an environment that they're not familiar with, it gives us a very good training opportunity," Todd said.

She said the fire department developed the rescue intervention training techniques last fall and employed the training for first time this January.