CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield firefighters rushed to a trailer Thursday afternoon to deal with what appeared to be an emergency.

Fire crews found smoke coming from inside a room with the alarms blaring. They escaped out of the side window and made it safely to a meeting point.

The incident was actually a simulated drill to help people prepare for the real thing.

The Chesterfield County Fire & Life Safety Division held the drill at their Public Safety Training Center. Sal Luciano, battalion chief with Chesterfield County Fire and EMS, said the training took place in their “Fire Safety Trailer.”

“We don’t just throw them into this trailer and expect them to get out. We teach them for about an hour ahead of time how to recognize these emergencies and how to react,” he said.

The fire division has been using the trailer for nearly 20 years and received an upgraded one in 2018. They use it to educate fourth grade students across the county on how to escape smoke and fire conditions.

“The students are a great way to get to the rest of the family,” Luciano said. “They’re a great avenue. So we meet with them, we talk to them and give them homework assignments.

The training mimics real-life scenarios like a severe storm or a fire inside a room. Luciano said cooking is the number one cause for fires in Chesterfield County.

“Don’t start cooking and leave your pan,” he said. “When you’re cooking, have a cookie sheet nearby. If you were to have a small fire in this (pan) that hasn’t extended up into the cabinets, by taking this cookie sheet and just sliding it over it eliminates the oxygen and it will put the fire out.”

Crews teach kids to help develop a family escape plan, to stay low to the ground when you see smoke and to find a safe spot when a severe weather event happens.

“Depends on what’s burning, nowadays new construction, the materials that are in furniture. Depends on what starts it–within a few minutes the whole house can be fully involved or engulfed,” Luciano said.

He hopes no one has to go through this, but if they do—they’ll have the tools to succeed.

“That’s why we practice this out of a bedroom. It’s like they’re laying in bed sleeping and they hear the smoke alarm. When they hear it they know to react quickly, because you don’t have a lot of time,” Luciano said.

Fire crews continue to push the theme for this year’s fire prevention week: Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape.