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First responders train at HACC Public Safety Training Center

Updated: Thursday, October 10 2013, 01:20 PM CDT
Written by: Ewa Roman

They risk their lives every day to save yours. On Wednesday, CBS 21 got an inside look at what it takes to be a first responder.

They make it look easy. Nine students train to repel to be able to save rock climbers or those people stuck on ledges.

Instructors at Harrisburg Area Community College's Shumaker Public Safety Training Center say training is key, but mental toughness is needed as well.

"Any day they walk out the door for a call could be one of their last," said Perry Pierich, Fire Training Coordinator.

New to the fire training program is the flashover simulator. It gives fire fighters in training a first look at what a flashover looks like.  Inside, the temperature can go up to 1200 degrees.  The smoke gets so thick you can't see the person next to you. Then the flames spread through the room like waves.

The instructor says that unless they have water, the chances of surviving a flashover are very slim.

"At the end of the day, you know you've helped people be a little safer that day, you may not always save a life, but you're helping somebody's day be a little brighter," said Pierich.

Students go through more than 500 hours of training. The fire training coordinator says about 20-percent of the students don't complete the program. Some can't meet physical or academic requirements.
First responders train at HACC Public Safety Training Center


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