TAMPA, Fla. — “Ready? Let’s go!” said one Tampa firefighter, as he and his team bust down a door, and drag a hose into a home on W. Adalee Street.
Tampa Fire Rescue is getting hands-on training in real houses to prepare for real emergencies.
The agency has partnered with Domain Homes to use the vacant homes to practice on before they are demolished.
Tampa Fire Rescue says the tactics they practice help them respond to people quicker, and it’s training they can’t get otherwise.
“It feels very real,” said Kevin Robles, the Chief Operating Officer for Domain Homes.
He says it’s also a way to give back to the community and to the firefighters that protect them and everyone else.
"They can only learn so much with videotapes and mockup training,” he said.
Tampa Fire Rescue has a training facility with props, but those don't always help with tackling unknown situations.
Captain William Townsend with Tampa Fire Rescue says each home is different and comes with a list of challenges.
"99% of the time we’re not gonna be familiar with it,” he said.
On Adalee Street, these men and women practice ladder placement, cutting holes in roofs and walls as well as how to operate the hose.
"The rooms are different, the pitch of the roof is different, the type of roof, the interior layout is different,” said Townsend.
He says it’s also a learning opportunity for neighbors who love interacting and connecting with them during these drills.
If anyone other companies are interested in letting Tampa Fire Rescue use their soon to be demolished homes for training, contact the agency through its Facebook page.