Firefighters from all over the lake area participated in intense training on Monday night. Osage Beach, Sunrise Beach, Mid-County Fire District and Ft. Leonard Wood were all represented.


Firefighters from all over the lake area participated in intense training on Monday night. Osage Beach, Sunrise Beach, Mid-County Fire District and Ft. Leonard Wood were all represented.

L.E.T.S. Survive was sponsored by the Missouri Division of Fire Safety and was split into two four-hour sessions ending with practical training in Camdenton. Monday night's session took firefighters through real life situations such as crawling through a basement, how to safely get out of two and three story windows, how to break through plywood and other various essential skills.

"We've got five stations set up here tonight," said Dustin Hancock, lead instructor. "The first station is a bail-up where we teach them to use webbing on their own if they are by themselves and fall through a basement floor and how to get out of a basement window. If they have a partner, we teach them how to set the second guy up and use them as a human ladder."

What is referred to as the "ladder bail" was set up as the second station.
"What they do is come out the window, they hook their arm, they rotate around and slide out the window," Hancock said.

The most intimidating part of the entire training was the two story maze.
"The floor can collapse in there and there are other entanglements," said Hancock.

The maze simulates a situation where the firefighter is trapped in a basement with limited air supply.
Next, firefighters practiced getting out of a small space. "It is just simulating they are busting through half inch plywood with hand tools in a confine space," Hancock said.

According to Hancock, figuring out safe ways to get out of windows is critical when fighting fires. The last station had two parts.

"We are teaching firefighters how to hang out of a window without a ladder," he said. They started out with a two story window before moving on to a higher scale.

"We show them how to drop from the second story in case there is not a ladder there. Then we go up on the 14 foot. They hang there, then we get a ladder to them and they transition to the ladder."

Hancock's hope for such training is to equip firefighters with skills to help ensure their quality of life, "At the end of their career, we want them to go home with the same quality of life they had when they came here. We don't want them to simply go home."

He said that he also wants each participant to walk away with confidence in how to handle such situations. "When they come to one of these situations, it will not be foreign to them," Hancock added.

Watch the online video and browse the photo galleries for more details on Monday night's training.