KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Day in and day out, firefighters put their lives on the line in order to keep communities safe. This was no different early Thursday when a house caught on fire off of Country Hill Lane, sending one firefighter to the hospital.
“They’re going to risk a whole lot more for someone’s life, but even for property, we do risk a little,” Knoxville fire department assistant chief, Mark Wilbanks said.
Firefighters were able to safely put out the fire, leaving the scene without any major injuries. The firefighter who was sent to the hospital was released around 5:30 this morning after experiencing chest pains.
However, safety is always at the forefront of firefighters minds.
“One of the biggest things we think about is what we’re going to have to do going to the scene, being careful getting there, not having an accident,” Wilbanks said.
Once they arrive on the scene, there’s even more to think about.
“They have to think about when they place the ladders up on a building, how to handle the ladder appropriately. They have to think about when they’re entering a structure, is there a floor there,” Wilbanks said.
Plus, they have their equipment that keeps them safe but can add hazards as well.
“Put on a pair of gloves and a pair of pants, and a pair of heavy leather boots and you’ve added a lot of weight. Then they put that air pack on, more weight, harder to breathe,” Wilbanks said.
Even with these factors, the city hasn’t had any major firefighter injuries reported recently. Most being minor, including falls or sprains, but there’s more to consider besides the physicality of it all.
“Think about laying in your bed at home at 1:30 in the morning, like this morning for the fire,” Wilbanks said. “Imagine your blood pressure is going up, heart rate is going from in the 40’s and 50’s up to the 100’s 120’s 130 range, it becomes much more strenuous,” he said.
Obviously the firefighters are professionals who train for this type of work every day, but they ask homeowners to help play a key role in keeping firefighters safe.
“Having smoke detectors in your home, residential sprinklers are extremely important. That helps keep us safe,” Wilbanks said.
WIlbanks also stated that homeowners in an urban interface, having a safe home is helpful as well.