PARKER, SD -
Hands-on training heats up in Parker Sunday for more than 100 volunteer firefighters - some of whom have never been inside the same room as a live fire.
The training may be simulated but this fire is very real. Hot flames and thick smoke envelop this group of firefighters. Getting close to a blaze is something new for 21-year-old Josh Viet from Marion.
"Being kind of the young blood, I'd like to get some live fire and get a little more comfortable and experience a taste of what a structure fire might be," Viet said.
Viet is like many of the 150 volunteer firefighters, who came from as far away as Spearfish and Redfield, preparing for the worst case scenario at the South East District Fire School. Smaller departments get their feet wet - literally - in a smoke house which turns up the heat on their skills.
"Hands on training ends up being the key and the opportunity for us to do this, where in-house (training) is a bit restricted," Parker Fire Chief Bob Masters said.
Classes are happening all over Parker today. And besides the smoke house, they are also in this old house learning how to stay safe if they become trapped inside.
"Not everything is rosy. There are times when they are going to get trapped or could get trapped and they need to know how to get out," Masters said.
And for Viet, he says this real life training will help him know what to expect the first time he walks into danger.
"You never know when the call comes, when you might need to go in after someone or something. You don't want to not know what you’re going into, I guess. It's more safety for everybody that way," Viet said.
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