When it comes to saving lives and property, firefighters are a critical component and their training is a matter of life and death.
East Tennessee's recent rash of brush and house fires are putting them to the test, but today firefighters got a refresher course. The semi annual training not only helps firefighters refine their skills but it also helps to ease the minds of their families.
"The first few years that we were married you listen to the scanner and the scanner goes off and he jumps up out of bed and runs off and you're on pins and needles," Jonna McMahan said.
McMahan has been married to a firefighter for 14 years. "It's still a little nerve racking when you're listening and you know they're going into a burning building and I'm very proud of him."
McMahan isn't alone in her pride for her husband. Her children are so intrigued by their dad's work, they also showed up at the Pigeon Forge training exercise on Saturday.
Their dad is veteran firefighter Bill McMahan with the Sevierville Fire Department. He is one of ten instructors training more than 30 firefighters from five different departments, but he's been passing the torch at home as well.
"Not to play with matches not to play with a lighter not to knock the candle over when it's burning, not to leave a candle on," 8 year old Denton McMahan said.
"Maybe one day he'll be a fireman too," Bill McMahan added.
A Sevier County church donated a home schedule to be demolished but instead it was turned into a training tool. Firefighting instructors started a fire in the house, then trainees used their skill and several different techniques to extinguish the blaze. One of the new tools for trainees to use in this weekend's exercise is a Compressed Foam System. The system was used in conjunction with water to put out the fire.
"Knowing that he can go in that building and he comes out alive it gives me that much more trust in knowing that he knows what he's doing," Jonna McMahan said.
"Makes me feel good or I guess proud that they support what I do so much," Bill McMahan.
Emergency crews were standing by during the training exercise just in case anyone was hurt. There were no injuries.