PHOTO: On Friday evening, members of five local fire departments were engaged in a fierce fight — not with a fire, but with each other. Instead of their usual tools — hoses, axes and ladders — they were chucking foam balls at each other, playing dodgeball.
It was a strange sight to see. Firefighters from the Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Bloomingdale, Paul Smiths-Gabriels and Duane volunteer fire departments packed into the gymnasium of the Citizen Advocates building (the former Pius X high school) in Saranac Lake, paying dodgeball in full firefighting gear.
It was a fun way to practice an important skill. It was an air consumption drill, teaching members breath control and oxygen conservation. “It helps build confidence for them in case they’re in a situation where their TAS alarm goes off and they’re either trapped or they need a little more time to get out of a burning building,” Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department Second Assistant Chief Doug Peck said.