Botetourt Fire & EMS trains to battle fires

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 5:49 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - Botetourt Fire & EMS is training to make sure it’s well-prepared to battle structure fires.

Live Burn Evolutions Training lasts three days, each day containing five scenarios.

“It’s the realism, basically, when we don’t have this opportunity. You know we have smoke machines to put out fake smoke, but we don’t have the heat, we don’t have the actual flames,” says Botetourt’s Fire & EMS Deputy Chief Rob Johnson.

Johnson says training in wildfire conditions will help newcomers gain more hands-on experience.

“We hope they come out of here more confident, especially the newer folks who haven’t had a lot of experience with this,” states Johnson.

Michael Brown is a new Firefighter EMT. He says although the academy helped with the fundamentals, this training helped him learn how to work in the field.

“We practice different roles, whether we are arriving on a medic truck or arriving on the engine,” says Brown.

Johnson says with new developments happening in Botetourt, new training mechanisms are needed.

“Botetourt County is seeing that explosion and growth both residential, apartments, commercial. Each of which requires different tactics if they catch on fire,” adds Johnson.

With Johnson coming back to Fire & EMS a month ago, he says looking at the new changes in Botetourt puts things in perspective.

“About five and a half years since I was gone the department has doubled in size to try to keep up with the needs,” explains Johnson. “As more people, as more industry comes into the area, that naturally increases the call volume.”

Johnson explained how people don’t realize the biggest problem with fires is the smoke.

“When you’re watching a lot of TV shows about firefighters because of the nature of their business, you want to see the actors. It’s not as smoky on the TV as it is in real life. Even if we have an active fire, a lot of times we don’t see the fire on the inside until we get right up on it.” explains Johnson.

“We just hope that they learn how to fight fires, find victims most importantly be safe while they’re doing it,” says Johnson.

Johnson wants to make sure everyone is ready and prepared to take on real-life scenarios.