VICENZA, Italy (March 19, 2019) - Why is training important for firefighters? What is best to prepare a firefighter for the job?

These simple questions may lead to several answers, such as, it may help improve their abilities and readiness; develop skills to lessen errors; or become more confident and perform their jobs at a higher level while experiencing a variety of emergency situations.

Each year, U.S. Army Garrison Italy Fire and Emergency Services firefighters are engaged in a training period. As part of annual training activities, the department participates in bilateral exercises with their host nation counterparts to improve emergency response capabilities and coordination with local emergency response providers.

One of these exercises took place in downtown Vicenza Feb. 28 where USAG Italy Fire Department and Comando Vigili del Fuoco di Vicenza co-hosted an event in which they simulated an interior rescue of a victim who had trouble inside a container with zero visibility.

"This is not the first opportunity to collaborate with the local firefighters," said Federico Croce, who works at the garrison fire department. "Every year, we work together during events such as Lion Response, the annual full-scale exercise, when we perform with off-post first-responders from the City of Vicenza; other times we actually ask for their intervention while facing real emergencies."

In addition to Croce, the garrison team included Simone Cupini, Carlo Giliberto and Luca Sivori; event coordinators were Matteo Manfron, lead firefighter, and Arthur Doss, assistant chief of training/fire operations for the garrison. Riccardo Buganè was responsible for coordination and safety of the Vigili del Fuoco of Vicenza, while Franco Spinato was responsible for logistical support.

"The training consisted of downed firefighter and victim retrieval," explained Doss. "It was an operation where two firefighters were on standby for what's called Rapid Intervention Team, RIT. In a simulated interior a firefighter was unconscious, caught disoriented and could not make it out of a structure himself."

At that point, after activating a Mayday call on the radio, Doss explained that the other colleagues were applying some techniques for rescuing him.

According to Manfron, the training focused on two specific techniques, such as Search and Rescue in immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) and Denver Drill, used to rescue a colleague in a confined space near a window.

"Once the firefighters wearing special personal protective equipment, PPE, entered the confined rescue space, they checked the remaining air in the oxygen tank and, by using the webbing, they brought the victim outside to a safe location," said Manfron.

After the training, all participants agreed on having experienced a constructive partnership, which had a positive impact for personal development and teamwork.

"This experience lays the groundwork for future collaboration with the potential of leading to a continuous cooperation," said Croce.