Va., Md. firefighters practice for worst-case scenarios

Teams of first responders are taking their training mid air. They're spending the week prepping for worst-case scenarios.

Firefighters from across Virginia and Maryland are taking part in what's called a Rescue Challenge.

Willie Rice spent 35 years saving lives. Now a retired fire chief, he's coaching others on worst-case scenarios.

"Bottom line is we have to be ready for just about anything, so that's why we tend to expose our people to just about anything," Rice says.

Fifteen firefighters from Virginia's Region 2 team relied on ropes and pulleys to get a 160-pound dummy and a live rescuer down to safety.

"It's tricky," says Lt. David Gayhart of the Harrisonburg Fire Department. "It actually involves a lot of physics and a lot of math of which a lot of people don't think the firefighters... They think we just run in the burning buildings and sometimes we have to do a little bit of math to make things work."

While these types of emergency calls are rare, they're risky.

Rescue challenge is now in its19th year.

Nine teams of 15 are also spending this week practicing confined space rescues, trench rescues, and saving victims trapped under heavy machinery or in collapsed buildings.