HFD trains in high rise building on USM campus

HATTIESBURG, Miss - Around 100 firefighters from the Hattiesburg Fire Department train at the high rise Roberts Hall building on the USM campus.

According to Battalion Chief Collins the state of Mississippi does not have a lot of high rise vacant buildings for fire departments to train.

Roberts Hall is expected to be demolished in two years, meanwhile USM lets departments utilize the building.

Training in high rise buildings offers new recruits and veterans a different learning experience for fire drills.

"Anytime you operate off the ground in multi story buildings, it makes it more dangerous for us and more complicated, more man power intensive and more of a command and control issue for officers" Collins says.

The firefighters were given an active fire scenario on the fourth floor. HFD employs simulated smoke to induce a real life effect.

"You know we have the textbook thing that we teach them, but we also have ideas that the individual firemen might have picked up at another department, or some training somewhere outside of the state, we try to share that information" Collins says.

These types of fire drills require a team effort to ensure real life scenarios are handled effectively and efficiently.

Battalion Chief Robert Stephens says, "Well the residents can rest assure if we do have a multi story fire we do have the training and capabilities of going in the building and rescuing people inside if need be, as well as containing the fire and keeping it to as minimal damage as possible."

HFD breaks their training up to three consecutive days for their eight stations in the city.

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