'Top Gun' Firefighting: Inside the North Carolina program teaching firefighters across the nation how to survive

  • Source: WCNC-TV NBC 36 Charlotte
  • Published: 12/28/2020 12:00 AM

VIDEO: It's considered one of the toughest firefighter training programs in the country, with a waitlist stretching three years and filled with the names of firefighters from as far away as California and Washington State. The North Carolina Breathing Equipment School, which is held twice a year at Gaston College's Dallas campus, even held the distinction of being named the "Top Gun" of firefighter schools. But in late-March 2020, the school unexpectedly earned another distinction as being the site of one of the last pre-pandemic firefighter training sessions in the entire country. On a cloudy Tuesday morning, firefighters from across the country were spread out across Gaston College's Regional Emergency Services Training Center. The school teaches firefighters how to save themselves and their fellow firefighters in "maydays," a situation when a firefighter is in imminent danger and in need of immediate rescue.


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