Firefighter Training: New Haven Fire Training Division


It’s a small glimpse into the real-life challenges firefighters face day in and day out. 

WTNH’s Scott McDonnell and photographer Mike Piskorski were invited to the New Haven Fire Training Academy to experience firefighter training. 

The exercise began with a fitting for proper protection, including a mask. 

After that, it was off to the training facility that serves as a burning building fire crews would respond to. 

The lesson is clear from New Haven Fire Chief John Alston.

“How catastrophic fires can be and how easily they can start, but also what firefighters have to go through,” said Chief Alston. 

How firefighters risk their lives, to save another. 

“It’s going to be a real-life situation for like a firefighter would have,” said Ray Saracco, Supervisor of Fire Investigation at City of New Haven. 

The building was pitch dark upon moments of entering. 

Related Content: North Haven Fire, Red Cross install free smoke alarms

“10 feet by 10 feet you can get lost in something so small very easy. But if you lose your visibility, it makes things difficult,” said Robert Bonetti – New Haven Firefighter. 

Only able to see the boots in front of you. 

Thermal imagining cameras help cut through the darkness. 

Rescuers have no idea what objects or obstacles the might encounter. 

“There’s a a lot of things that can get in the way – people may have lots of items and you may not know what you are getting into,” said New Haven Firefighter Robert Bonetti. 

 As the firefighters search for anyone or even a pet, communication is key. 

“You got to really work together you got to really communicate,” said Bonetti. 

Gear can weigh over fifty pounds. 

On top of the gear, firefighters navigate the dark towards a stranded “victim” or training manikin that can weight over one-hundred pounds.

Bearing all the weight and carrying the victim, they walk backwards, at times around flames, to bring the victim to the safety of the light outside of the burning home and into the arms of EMTs. 

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