Superior Firefighters Train For High-Risk Rescues Involving Their Own

The department's new storage facility was filled with fake smoke as part of the drill.

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Superior firefighters got some real-world, high-risk training Monday to help rescue one of their own if they were to ever go down during a fire.

Fake smoke was pumped into a 5,000-square-foot storage facility behind the new fire station on Tower Avenue.

The drill included a two-person team searching through zero visibility for a fellow firefighter in distress with a depleting air pack.

Chief Scott Gordon said mayday situations are rare during a firefighter’s career, but he said his department can never be too prepared for when that time may come.

“If we do happen to have a mayday, we’re going to be much better prepared to act on that. The goal is to get the firefighters out as safely as we can, all the time. Firefighting is a dangerous job — obviously we all know that when we sign up for this career — but practicing to rescue each other is a skill we don’t often think about,” Gordon explained.

And while rescue training was a big part of Monday’s exercise, firefighters say it’s also a chance for everybody to see each other’s strengths to build trust and execute a high-stress event better in the future.

“By us doing this, it allows the senior people and the newer people to work together and to see each other’s abilities, to mentor one another,” said Dan Sertich, lead fire inspector for the city of Superior. “Because if we aren’t connecting, things can really be stressful and go the wrong way for us.”

The department’s new storage facility, by the way, is used to house all types of fire equipment and can now be used for training like Monday’s drill, unlike in years past when the department would have to find a vacant building, for example, to train in.

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