Local first responders and more go through F.L.A.M.E.S. Training

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Firefighters from near and far connected hoses performed drills and pushed their limits while going through the F.L.A.M.E.S.

F.L.A.M.E.S. is around-the-clock training designed to test and strengthen a firefighter's personal limitations when working in high-stress situations with limited rest periods. (WJHG/WECP0

"What we're doing is honing those skills. All the basic skills, search and rescue, searching for a downed firefighter, deploying hand lines, moving those lines under stressful situations in zero visibility,” said Justin Busch with the Panama City Beach Fire Department.

The Firefighters Laboring and Mastering Essential Skills, or known as the F.L.A.M.E.S. test, is around-the-clock training designed to test and strengthen a firefighter's personal limitations when working in high-stress situations with limited rest periods.

"All the skills that go into being successful on the fire ground under the mental fatigue, physical fatigue, hungry, tired, cold, raining, wet,” said Busch.

The test was originated at the Chatsworth Fire Department in Chatsworth, Georgia and lasts 48 hours. For the first time ever it's being held here in Panama City.

"We have participants from Panama City Fire Department, Panama City Beach Fire Department, Bay County Fire Rescue. We had one from Escambia County,” said Kevin Lolley with the Panama City Fire Department.

F.L.A.M.E.S. instructors said despite whether a firefighter passes or fails the test, it pushes them to get in shape, tighten up their skills and to improve in all areas to become better firefighters for their communities.

"Kind of a worst-case scenario. Being able to perform those essential skills in those conditions, that lets a guy know that any given time he can perform those skills because he's done it in the worst-case scenario,” said Chatsworth Fire Department Chief and F.L.A.M.E.S. instructor Charles Baxter.

Baxter said the training featured instructors and firefighters from South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Alabama, Oklahoma and more from across the country.

Instructors said they constantly check the firefighter’s physical condition during the test. The instructors also said the test will be finished by Sunday afternoon.

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