TX Firefighter Deaths Inspire Lawton FD Training - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

TX Firefighter Deaths Inspire Lawton FD Training

LAWTON Okla_ Firefighters will tell you that they are all family, even if they fight fires hundreds of miles apart.

That's why firemen in Lawton are, mourning two Texas firefighters who died last week, after being trapped in an abandoned banquet hall that caught fire. Local firemen say it really puts the dangers of their job in perspective.

Lawton firefighters agree the best way they can honor the fallen firefighters is to find out what actually happened and tailor their own training to try and keep it from happening here.

Wednesday, the nation, and specifically people in Bryan, Texas, is remembering Greg Pickard and Eric Wallace. Lawton firefighters say losing someone in your department is unthinkable.

"To have one from your own department die, in the line of duty during the course of a battle, I think that would be very heart wrenching," LFD Training Officer Jared Williams said.

That's why he will look closely at the investigative report of what happened Saturday in Texas and will adapt his training accordingly.

"If we can answer the question ‘Why?', then we can hopefully keep that happening to one of our personnel," Williams said.

Any new training they come up with will be added to the hours of training that recruits already go through, before they fight their first real fire. 

"Once you get your bunker gear on, your SBCA on, you get that feeling of invincibility," Williams said. "It's important that you are aware of your situation and aware of what's going on, so you know when it's time to call for help," Williams said.

They call that call for help "Mayday". Through Mayday Training, they are taught to use their personal alert safety system. You might be surprised how familiar you are with the system. Firefighters carry something called a pass device, and when they're in trouble, all they have to do is hit a button. The loud noise helps a rapid intervention team find their distressed comrade. The alarm will also sound if a fireman is still for more than 30 seconds.

"It makes me feel comfortable in my skills and ability," Lawton Firefighter Brandon Bailey said.

The men around them keep them confident they will go home at the end of a long day.

"You're working as a team," Lawton Firefighter Brent Kephart said. "You live with guys 24 hours a day, 3 days a week. You're looking out for them, and they're looking out for you."

Officer Williams said the firefighters of Lawton FD are their most valuable asset, and they will do anything needed to keep them safe.

Williams could only look back 30 years. In that 30 years, he said the Lawton Fire Department has not lost a fireman in the line of duty.



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