First responders in west Alabama praise those in Boston - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

First responders in west Alabama praise those in Boston

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First responders in west Alabama are giving praise to those in Boston.

The Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service, who dealt with mass casualties on April 27, 2011 say the way their counterparts reacted after the Boston bombings were spot on.

A team of five Tuscaloosa firefighters are fine tuning their rescue skills. They'll put them to the test this weekend in a friendly competition. There are seven different events that the firefighters will compete in. And these are things that they do daily on the job, including moving a 160 pound steel beam.

Tuscaloosa firefighter, Rhett Gallego said their job is to prepare for the unknown. And when he saw colleagues react to the bombings in Boston, it reminded him of the mental battle some of their guys faced on April 27, 2011.

"When it's time to act I thought they did a great job of acting when they needed to and doing what needed to [be done] keep people safe after the blast," Gallego added.

While they train vigorously for the days ahead, Chief Deputy John Brooks said this department has a wide range of emergency medical plans from athletic injury procedures to mass trauma like the situation first responders in Boston were faced with just two days ago.

Brooks said, "When folks are running away first responders are running towards to emergency. And you see what those guys do and you have a very real understanding of the risk that they are taking."

Brooks said his heart goes out to the victims and first responders in Boston, but he knows if the citizens in Tuscaloosa need Fire and EMA crews they'll react the same way.

To see some of the skills the firefighters were practicing for emergency situations, the Tuscaloosa team will be competing this Friday and Saturday behind University Mall in the Firefighter Combat Challenge.

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