Buildings about to be torn down offer firefighters a chance to hone skills

SALT LAKE CITY -- Practice makes perfect, and a building about to be demolished recently helped fire crews in Salt Lake City hone their skills.

Several months ago firefighters put out a blaze in a vacant Sizzler restaurant at 343 East and 400 South. This week firefighters were back again, but this time it was for practice.

Fire departments often reach out to the owners of buildings that are about to be torn down for Acquired Structure Training.

"It's an invaluable training experience for us because we can only mimic fire ground operations so closely in our training facility and our training grounds," said Robert Stafford, a training captain with the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

Stafford says these buildings give them opportunities that are hard to come by outside of the real deal.

"Whether it's cutting roofs, or forcing entry on doors, throwing ladders to buildings with targets, hose management skills, search drills, all these things are super important for us to be able to do in a real structure," he said.

See the video above for footage of the hands-on training.