How do firefighters who respond to emergency situations like the Gate City explosion cope with the stress of their jobs?
That's now a regular part of their training, according to the Allan Rice, the Executive Director of the Alabama Fire College in Tuscaloosa.
Rice says training has improved in recent years when it comes to helping firefighters deal with the emotions of their job.
"We've done a much better job over the last few years of dealing with that from the start of a first responder's career," Rice said. "And now, actually in recruit training, we cover those topics and we talk to them about things they're likely to see over the course of their career."
Rice says this training involves national programs for stress counseling and peer counseling. He says supervisors also work to identify firefighters who have been exposed to particularly damaging situations and help them deal with their emotions. Rice says this helps firefighters continue to serve in the line of duty.
Firefighters also get training at the Alabama Fire College in Tuscaloosa to be part of the Alabama Mutual Aid System, which is a network of specially trained response teams.
Rice says firefighters on the scene in Gate City Tuesday would have come to the Fire College to train for this system.
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