Firefighters host courage safety class - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Firefighters host courage safety class

GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

Around 40 firefighters from as far away as west Texas came to Judson middle school in Gregg county for the first annual 'courage to be safe class'.

"Its a 16 point initiative basically to make us as firefighters more aware of our surroundings. Every year in the United States we have an average of one hundred firefighters die in the line of duty," says Judson metro volunteer fire Chief Mike Fennell.

Some die in fires, some in engine crashes, but the largest might surprise you.

"One of the biggest reasons we have line of duty deaths is heart attacks," Fennell says.

Physical condition and the exhaustion of firefighting claims more lives than any. Something the class addresses.

"Everybody thinks that firefighters are in good shape but if you look a lot of us old timers are not in the shape the younger guys are," says Winona firefighter Tommy Brock.

For firefighters on a scene it could come down to a few seconds to decide life and death, and it is in those few seconds that they need to make good decisions. The class focuses on physical and mental discipline and decision making.

"I heard all these statistics before. I've learned about it before, but what's eye-opening to me is a great thing that people say you know what, question things. At the end of the day it is on us to have personal safety," says recent East Texas fire academy graduate Phillip Recio.

And hope that this training will save firefighters lives.

"We don't want to go to that loved ones house and tell them they're not coming back," Fennell says.

The Texas commission on fire protection now requires that all firefighters take the 'courage to be safe class'.

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