LAKE MURRAY, OK - Firefighters scrambled to get into some cabins at Lake Murray on Wednesday, but there was no emergency. It was part of a drill designed to prepare them for the real thing.
Their training ground was old cabins at the Lake Murray Lodge. One volunteer fire chief said he learned they'd be demolished to make way for a new lodge, and thought up the idea for this week's training.
"We rarely ever get this opportunity with this many buildings to practice on," said Kevin Archibald of the Eastside VFD. "Ninety percent of our fires around here are brush or wildland fires."
"We tell everybody to train like your life depends on it, because it does," firefighter Chris Kirk of the Greenville-Overbrook VFD said.
"On the first call, you get three engines, an ambulance, three tankers, and if you don't drill together, you won't be able to function together," said Jesse Kirk of the Shady Dale VFD.
Firefighters will not be allowed to burn the cabins, but they will be doing just about everything else, including spraying water and breaking down doors.
Members of a special group that responds to fires in Love County to help the firefighters are also here.
"They'll dehydrate real quick so we furnish Gatorade, water, and snacks to them and cold towels to keep them going," said Rehab Team member Kathy Davis. "We watch them and if any of them look like they are going down or something, it's time to sit down and wait."
On Sunday, they will practice responding a major incident, switching out the smoke machine for barrels of wet-down burning hay to better simluate real-world smoke conditions.
"You get to work with different equipment and different people and put all of their skills together," said Bryan Burns of the Criner Hills VFD.