Recently, Lebanon High School Seniors Rachel Kersey and Nick Stewart were able to take part in live fire training, with the help of the Lebanon Fire Department.
“Go ahead and shut the door,” said Lebanon Fire Chief Chuck Batts as firefighters and Lebanon High School interns entered the department’s Flashover Chamber.
“I was really nervous walking into this,” said LHS intern Rachel Kersey. “It was the first time I’ve ever done that.”
“I was definitely nervous in the beginning,” said fellow LHS intern Nick Stewart. “Because you never think about stepping foot into somewhere that is going to catch on fire, but it’s very helpful to know that you have people around you that are going to calm us down. It really made it a great experience.”
“I was like, ‘this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life,’” added Kersey. “And I didn’t think it was going to look like that. I just figured it was going to be a campfire over the top of my head, but it literally looked like rolls of fire coming on top of me.”
“When I hopped on the nozzle, we headed through the building and stayed low,” said Stewart. “It was black. You couldn’t really see anything. I had one fireman in front of me, and I was trying to communicate with him and trying to keep pace with him, and walk with him towards the fire. Trying to keep track of him was kind of difficult, other than the reflectors on the back of his bottle. Trying to pay attention to that and communicating vocally. Finally, when we reached the fire, I got around the corner, opened up the nozzle, and it was the most amazing, best thing ever putting out that fire!”
“It’s really a unique experience for them,” said Lebanon Firefighter Josiah Heath. “They’ve had the opportunity over the last school year to learn some different skills, and learn a little bit about what it’s like to be a firefighter. So, this is kind of a culmination of that. They get to go into live fire, and learn things like fire dynamics, flow path, and see what a flashover looks like. Which is a really dangerous phenomenon that not a lot of people are fortunate enough to see and survive, but here in a training scenario, we are able to do that. It’s really a unique experience for them, and they’re really lucky to do that.”
“I think that’s really exciting, and it makes me more excited to know that I’m so passionate about it that I want to do it in my future,” added Stewart. “It was definitely one of those experiences that I’m thankful for, that our school was able to put that together, so that I know what I’m walking into when I decide to apply at a different fire station.”
“It’s really refreshing to see the kind of people who are passionate about learning more about the fire service,” said Heath. “And kind of seeing what it’s about, and it’s been really refreshing to see throughout the entire course of the internship.”
“It’s really awesome to understand the information that goes behind what they do, and what goes on in movies, and the reality of it all,” added Kersey.