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Winston-Salem rescue team takes on dangerous challenges

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- One team in Winston-Salem is trained to handle rescues from not only water, but things like collapsed buildings, trenches, and confined spaces. For this company, no two rescues or days on the job look the same.

One engine, 12 firefighters, and 80 seconds. That's how long it takes from Winston-Salem's Rescue Company One to get out the door from the moment a call comes in.

You'll see their teams of three men at a time responding alongside other fire department companies to structure fires, car crashes, or accidents involving hazardous materials. But they also handle emergencies that require highly specialized training.

"Structural collapse, water, high and low angle, trench, confined space," said Rescue Company One firefighter Ross Flynt.

Learning to do their job means putting in hundreds of extra hours.

"A lot of training, a lot of physical exertion, and it requires you to use your mind quite a bit," Flynt said.

Part of each day is dedicated to practicing.

"I wanted to come to work every day and do something a little different," Flynt said.

"Being new to this truck, there's so much to learn as opposed to riding on an engine we're responsible for so much more as a technical rescue truck," said Rescue Company One firefighter Cameron Chappell.

At least once a week, they climb to the top of a parking deck and rappel 80 feet to the ground.

"There's a challenge to it as well, and that's what I strive for," Chappell said. "I strive to challenge myself every day, plus it's a lot more fun. You don't really get to rappel over the side of a building when you riding on an engine."

Every exercise has a practical application for when the real calls come in.

"We take a lot of pride in the job we do, and we take a lot of pride in making ourselves better, and so we can better serve our community," Flynt said.

"The challenge and the fun of coming to work with my guys every day is what's great about it," Chappell added.