This is the week the Tyler Junior College Fire Academy cadets have been waiting for. This week the cadets began live burns - two- and four-man team rescue missions fighting real fire. These exercises are one of the last tests before graduation.
“We’ve been fighting fire all week and with it being our fourth day of fighting fire we have stepped it up to where there is an attack team and a rescue team. Our attack team goes in and puts the fire out while the rescue team is searching for the victims. It is a team effort, “ cadet Antonio Rigle said. “You have to have a lot of communication in that house because if you don’t you won’t know what’s going on.”
According to the cadets, in the fire facility there is zero visibility so communication is essential to each team’s performance. It can be common to have an accountability problem with these exercises where one man becomes confused and ends up with a different teammate before the 30-minute long mission is complete. The missions are put into place to teach communication among the cadets.
“This is getting it down to what it would be like in the real world - fighting real fires. It is a mind game, everything they’ve taught is now coming into play. This whole week is bringing all the classroom work into play. It takes a toll on the body for sure, but it is fun. You have to be strong both mentally and physically to get through these exercises,” cadet Josiah Villarreal said.
The Tyler Junior College Fire Academy cadets were performing live fire training at the fire training facility on Thursday, April 20. After completion of these physical and mental tests, the cadets are closer to their graduation date which is next Friday, April 28.