The LSU Carrol L. Herring Fire and Emergency Training Institute, commonly known as FETI, has been training Louisiana's newest firefighter recruits since 1963. The recruits are trained in all disciplines of firefighting at the state's most realistic training facility.
Individuals from all across the country enroll in a 14-week program. The recruits live at FETI in dorms while they learn all disciplines of firefighting.
Recruits not only learn to put out fires in your home. They learn to fight ship fires, land a helicopter within a landing zone on an oil rig, control airplane fires, extinguish chemical plant fires, perform first responder medical procedures, rescue trapped victims in confined spaces, and more.
"Firefighting isn't a safe profession. We are here to serve people on probably the worst day of their life," FETI Communications Manager Carey King said.
FETI provides recruits with real-life props and real-life training. Trainers simulate fires in numerous facilities located on the 80-acre training ground.
After hay and wood pallets are set ablaze, the recruits separate into groups and take turns extinguishing the fire and rescuing the victims inside. Although victims are dummies made of lead, the fires are very real. The recruits fight 40-foot fires in temperatures ranging from 300 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit.
"When you're going in there, you just have one thing on your mind. You have to save the victims and yourself," Shalyn Rabeaux said.
Rabeaux is one of the 23 recruits in the current training class. In December of 2017, the recruits will graduate and achieve their dreams of becoming certified firefighters.