Fighting fires is one of the most dangerous jobs out there, but now there are growing concerns that firefighters' roles are more dangerous than we originally thought.
After a firefighter was shot on the job this summer, the department is taking steps to ensure crews' safety, even from the dangers of violence.
Facing the threat of a gun would be a nightmare for anyone.
After an Omaha firefighter was shot, the department decided it should add defensive tactics to its list of skills.
“You kind of now have to anticipate the unexpected, and be prepared to adapt, which firefighters are excellent at doing at the fire scene, but when it comes to dealing with armed parties or unstable people, we needed a little extra training,” says Kathy Bossman, Battalion Chief of Omaha Fire Station #52.
With the help of Jon Edwards, the Defensive Tactics Coordinator of the Omaha Police Department, firefighters learned and practiced basic strikes.
A threat recently driven home in Omaha was guns, so Thursday, they used props to safely prepare for the worst.
The key for firefighters is to know how to disarm someone with only their hands.
Edwards adds, all of these moves should be used only as a last resort.
“They're very gross motor skill oriented skills. We just want them so successfully deal with somebody who has a gun, and if they choose, if they're backed into a corner and have no other choice, but to defend themselves,” he says.
So as Bossman picked up the new skills with her crew, she hoped she'll never have to use them, but now, is glad to be prepared.
“It builds your confidence, so if you are in that situation, you can feel confident you'll respond well,” she says.
This was the very first time Omaha firefighters had ever had this kind of training.
The department says these are skills every member will have from now on.
This new curriculum will be added to the yearly refresher course training as well.