With one hand keeping contact with your comrade — who is crawling along a wall, taking every left he comes to — you use your other to feel around, stretching as far as you can, searching for survivors as you maneuver around the furniture that materializes just inches from your face.
You are a fire fighter — and you volunteered for this.
Volunteer fire fighters from East Golden Pond and Linton met after their day jobs last week to practice searching a smoke-filled home, with several new recruits getting their first taste of feeling their way around while wearing 45 pounds of equipment.
As two machines pumped a small, fully furnished house full of ‘smoke’ — unlike the real deal, it poses no real threat to lungs — about twenty fire fighters began to suit up.
Between the pants, boots, jacket, gloves, respirator, air-tank, helmet and the fire-retardant that most be worn over the head, it takes a veteran under two-minutes to get equipped.
Rookies (and wide-eyed reporters), however, take a bit longer.
For their first exercise, fire fighters entered the building two at a time and conducted a primary search.
This, which can be conducted as a blaze is fought, involves searching for a person in their last-known location.
“Chances are, they didn’t get very far,” said David Bryant, deputy fire chief for Golden Pond.
As fire fighters took their turns retrieving the ‘victim,’ Bryant watched them feel their way through rooms — to him, almost clear as day. Not because of any special skill he’s developed over 21 years of fire fighting, but with the aid of a $10,000 thermal imaging device, on loan from a department in Louisville.
For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.