Grueling training firefighters undertake to respond in an emergency

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Published: Updated:
Firefighters working to contain the 30th Ave fire in Golden Gate Estates.

All those things that can keep criminals out of your home and protect it from storms can be a nightmare for firefighters.

Many have said those home improvements only make their jobs more difficult.

“Being a firefighter means more than just having a couple days off between your 24-hour shifts,” Anthony Cardona said.

Cardona is one week away from becoming a full-time Charlotte County firefighter. He and six other trainees have a better idea of what to expect during an emergency.

“It is all hands and ears,” Cardona said. “Because you can’t see in front of you.”

Charlotte County requires all new hires and seasoned firefighters to take part in the live fire training every year. It prepares these public servants for the unknown.

“You go in somebody’s garage,” Cardona said, “and you do not know if it is full of propane tanks or it is just wood.”

The extra training is preparing these first responders to protect the community, even in the most unexpected circumstances.

Captain Curtis Rine said improved infrastructure protects homeowners from hurricanes and unwelcome guests, but also first responders.

“We have hurricane windows and pretty much airtight buildings at this time,” Rine said. “Where before they would have been ventilated before we got there.

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