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Tulsa Firefighters Train For Life-Threatening Situations

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They call it "mayday" training and, like everything else, the more firefighters train to rescue themselves, the better their chances when their life is truly on the line. They call it "mayday" training and, like everything else, the more firefighters train to rescue themselves, the better their chances when their life is truly on the line.
"It's something we don't do every day, so it's something we need to train on," said Captain Lee Horst. "It's something we don't do every day, so it's something we need to train on," said Captain Lee Horst.
"Our main goal is to save citizens and property, but if one of ours gets in trouble, we have to know how to get them out to keep them from being involved in a catastrophic event, as well," said Chief Stacy Belk. "Our main goal is to save citizens and property, but if one of ours gets in trouble, we have to know how to get them out to keep them from being involved in a catastrophic event, as well," said Chief Stacy Belk.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Tulsa firefighters went through a unique training exercise Tuesday, running through drills to help them in case one of their own is trapped.

They call it "mayday" training and, like everything else, the more firefighters train to rescue themselves, the better their chances when their life is truly on the line.

"It's something we don't do every day, so it's something we need to train on," said Captain Lee Horst.

The "mayday" call is used when a firefighter is in trouble.

It's not used for a citizen, only when a firefighter is lost or trapped in the thick of the smoke, has run out of air, collapsed, or is otherwise in a life threatening situation.

"We try to teach them to stay calm. Stay calm, go through the skills they already know, the things they know to correct the problems they're in, and if they can't correct those problems, then to go ahead and call for help," Horst said.

We've seen several examples of the dangers firefighters face. Just Monday night, two firefighters were overcome by a flash over, suffered minor burns, and had to be taken to the hospital.

9/19/2012 Related Story: Three Firefighters Injured In Tulsa School Explosion Talk About Their Experience

Last August, an explosion rocked the former Barnard Elementary school and eight firefighters were injured and spent several days in the hospital.

And a year ago, firefighter James O'Neal called for mayday when his mask stopped pumping air and he began inhaling smoke.

3/16/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Firefighter Injured News Year's Day Fights Friday Morning House Fire

Training officers say his mayday call was a textbook example. Firefighters in danger are supposed to say "mayday" three times and then state the emergency.

"Our main goal is to save citizens and property, but if one of ours gets in trouble, we have to know how to get them out to keep them from being involved in a catastrophic event, as well," said Chief Stacy Belk.

Tulsa Fire has only been doing mayday training for the past eight years, and they say, in that time, they've noticed a big difference in how quickly they're able to respond to firefighters who are in trouble.

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