Los Angeles city, Mexican firefighters wrap up training session

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Patricia Nazario/KPCC

A Mexican firefighter practices using a rotary saw at an angle to cut open an iron door. Los Angeles City firefighters covered the technique, along with other related material, in a free two-day workshop at their headquarters near Dodger Stadium.

Twenty-seven bomberos, Spanish for fire fighters, and about the same amount from L.A. city volunteer their time for a free two-day workshop at a training facility near Dodger Stadium.

Mexican firefighters took the classroom training and dressed in full gear for the outdoor drills at the L.A. City Fire Department headquarters. Firefighters from across Mexico took time off to make the trip.

"They’re from Tijuana, Ensenada, and they’re from Tecate," said L.A. City Fire Battalion Chief Ronnie Villanueva.

Instructors focused on CPR, search and rescue, and fire tactics like angling and reversing a rotary saw to cut through doors.

“Something that may have taken them a while to do," says Villanueva, "they might be able to get into that within 20-30 seconds now.”

Mexican firefighter Marco Olmos trained with the L.A. City Fire Department two years ago. He requested and organized this one, because he believes it’ll make him and his fellow firefighters better at doing their jobs.

“In Mexico, we don’t have the proper training," said Marco Olmos. "We have the equipment, but we don’t have the proper training.”

Olmos says they plan to share the new skills and knowledge with their brothers and sisters in Mexico who didn't make the trip.

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