(WBIR) In certain emergency situations, a couple of seconds could be a matter of life or death. Having the right equipment and knowing how to use it is a must for firefighters and EMTs.

On Thursday, they got vital practice on how to use the "Jaws of Life" properly. This tool helps firefighters free people from mangled vehicles and collapsed buildings. Firefighters said active demonstrations help them learn how to work under pressure.

"The worst kind of experience is trying to sit and watch someone perform a skill," said Assistant Rural Metro Chief Rick Harrell. "The way we learn is a hands-on approach, and we do that by getting our hands on and get our hands on the tools and performing the task."

Before these practice drills, firefighters would only get to practice certain parts of life-saving maneuvers. Now every time they practice, they go all in.