DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign and Danville Fire Departments trained together for the first time on Wednesday at soon-to-be-demolished homes in Danville.

Skills, knowledge and equipment were shared between both crews. Champaign Chief of Training J.P. Childers said this was the first time the departments have trained together. 

“It is the first time we’ve done something like this with Danville,” he said. “We’ve done other drills with Urbana — in acquired structures, of course, because they’re our sister city. This was the first time that we were able to get together with Danville and it’s really beneficial, since we are a very young department.”

Both departments have been sharing each other’s instructors and practice grounds to teach the next generation of firefighters. 

“There’s no tool, there’s no piece of equipment that makes up for a well-trained firefighter. And well-trained firefighters [are] the extreme benefit of having a service in your community,” Danville Fire Captain Ryan Allison said. “And so taking these guys and bringing them over here, sharing their experience, sharing our experience with them, it just adds to what we have.” 

Allison also said the collaboration helps in more ways than one. 

“To me, the benefit is that we get a whole other perspective and they get a different perspective as well. So for us, it’s a good chance to look at how other departments are doing things. They have a lot of great instructors, we have a lot of good instructors here. And so it gives us a chance to combine resources.”

Childers is thankful his crew got some good experience.

“We build skill via practice, you know, hands-on application. We can talk about it, we can do classroom presentations, but those things don’t really prepare us to extinguish a fire,” he said. “Give us knowledge, background, sure. But it doesn’t really prepare us for the hands-on application. And going over there and working with Ryan Allison from Danville and all those guys gives us that rare opportunity.”

The departments have one more session on Thursday. They hope to see another training collaboration in the future.