North Shore Fire Department hosts training drill for fire agencies

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BROWN DEER -- Firefighters risk their lives to save others, but they too can run into trouble when responding to emergency situations. Thursday, September 13th, the North Shore Fire Department hosted a training drill for several southeast Wisconsin fire departments to help them develop important skills.

The North Shore Fire Department and 10 other Milwaukee County fire departments came together Thursday to train for responding to dangerous scenarios.

"What we're doing today is bringing them all together to see how compatible all that training is together," John Maydak said.

A large-scale simulation of a burning warehouse was set up -- a three-alarm fire with a firefighter lost a structure collapse.

Teams of 60 men and women with full gear had to find the missing firefighter and pull him to safety.

"There's always that chance when you have the element of the unknown and smoke and fire that this could happen at any time. That's why it's really important to be prepared for it," Maydak said.

The Rapid Intervention Team, or RIT Team includes crews of firefighters who's sole responsibility is to respond to downed colleagues.

"It's dark and smoky. You're not able to see anything and you're trying to follow lines," Jim Dorangrichia said.

After a 40-minute search, crews found their man. Fire crews participating in Thursday's simulation call it preparation for the real thing.

"We've searched for civilians and brought them out, but never a lost firefighter. That's why you train and train and train," Dorangrichia said.

Other agencies participating in Thursday's training included Cudahy Fire Department, Franklin Fire Department, Greendale Fire Department, Wauwatosa Fire Department and Oak Creek Fire Department -- to name a few.