Westport firefighters train in home slated for demolition

The Westport Fire Department got one final use out of an abandoned house on Bulkely Avenue North Tuesday, utilizing the space to train and test out new equipment.
Officials say abandoned buildings provide real-world conditions and context that add another dimension to training exercises.
"We get used to the layout of the buildings that we're in at our fire stations,” says Assistant Fire Chief Brett Kirby. “When we come to some of these houses slated for demolition it's a house we've never been in before. It's a greater challenge for the guys, throws a couple extra quirks in for them, so it's a good training opportunity for everybody."
He says that the home is especially helpful in training because it has multiple levels, which allows the firefighters to practice extraction from the basement as well as upper levels.
The team of firefighters were also able to test out a new piece of equipment called an RIT board, designed to help quickly and safely remove downed firefighters from harm’s way.
Kirby says firefighters were required to go inside the home, locate the downed firefighter and extract them from the building using the board.
He says that they hope to purchase the RIT board in the future if it proves to be effective.
News 12 is told that Westport firefighters will be training at the home all week.