Emergencies of All Kinds

By Matt Markham

April 28, 2011 Updated Apr 28, 2011 at 7:07 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Firefighters are dispatched all day and all night in all kinds of conditions. Trainees prepare for situations where it may be more than just an uncooperative fire, but the weather they must fight it in.

"This is the first time we've had a winter class but it's good training," said Binghamton training chief Rick Allen. "These guys will know how to fight fire in cold weather."

"It's perfect," said Jeremy Watkins of Tully. "You never get to decide when the calls are. So it's the perfect time to be out here."

On one of the coldest days of the year, trainees are out to kill the heat of a car fire.

"We put pallets inside of them for something to give it a little extra burn," Watkins said.

Car fires are routine calls for the fire service. But, what can happen from them is anything but.

"There are a lot of safety hazards that are involved with vehicle fires. There's struts that can go flying, there's glass breaking, there's fluids with fuel," Allen said.

"You want to start hitting it low. The fuel tank starts getting heated up, the fuel tank could rupture, you want to make sure you hit that and get it cooled first," Allen said.

Trainees also get up-close with the elements in the Chenango River.

Water rescue training includes saving others, and saving yourself, with your bare hands.

"We actually get in behind the victim so we don't break the ice in front of them, then we secure a life safety ring around them, and the guys from shore actually haul in both the victim and the rescuer," said Captain Chris Ballard.

That's part of the point of training -- to show that not all emergencies are alike, and while you can't control the weather, you aim to control the situation.

"I don't care. I've wanted to be a firefighter for a long time," said Ryan Hrebin of Binghamton. "I have no experience. And it's everything I've thought and more."

Our series of special reports continues Friday with a look at emergencies you can't see and a closer look at the people who have graduated the academy.