Agawam firefighters were put to the test Monday morning to see how they respond to a would-be emergency situation.
Training exercises are essential for firefighters to prepare for whatever emergency comes their way.
A vacant home on Silver Street became the perfect spot for Agawam firefighters to test their response to a building on fire with a victim trapped inside.
"This is as close to the real thing as we can get. A structure we've never been in filled with smoke, and we're treating it like it was a real scenario," said Agawam Fire Department Lt. Ed Linehan.
Smoke billowed from the chimney and out of the doors while crews geared up in full protective equipment before barging in while searching for any victims.
"Our first priority is to make sure there's nobody in the building and if there is to get them out," Lt. Linehan added.
The smoke they use is non-toxic and synthetic, and although it isn't real, fire crews said that during training operations it's as good as the real thing.
"It's zero visibility with the smoke machine," Lt. Linehan noted.
Every member of the Agawam Fire Department is equipped with Thermal Imaging Cameras, also known as T.I.C.'s
Teams of two made trip after trip into the smoke on their knees while using those cameras. T.I.C.'s allows firefighters to see what they're dealing with when they enter a building filled with smoke.
Fire crews in Agawam try to do those types of training events each month.
"During Monday’s training, there were two real calls for help while we were there, and these first responders didn’t hesitate to get on the road," Lt. Linehan continued.
Lt. Linehan added that’s all the proof he needs to know that training like this is essential to ensure first responders are ready to go.
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