GREENWICH — A week of final exams for Greenwich firefighters training on new equipment ended with plenty of sweat — and greater confidence in walking away unscathed from a worst-case scenario.

The department’s professional firefighters have wrapped up training this week on a “bailout kit,” a system of ropes, harnesses and hooks fitted with an auto-locking descent device. The new equipment went operational this past week and will give firefighters the ability to head out of the nearest window in a hurry if fire conditions inside a structure become lethal.

At a training session Thursday, firefighters took turns securing the fire-resistant ropes, then scampering over the ledge of a two-story window at the department’s training tower on North Street. They did it nine times in three different modes— first without a face mask, then with a face mask. The final test came when they dropped out the window with their vision completely blocked with a cloth to simulate “blackout conditions.”

The training emphasized rote repetition.

“Knuckles up! Get your slack out — keep your tension,” instructor Ryan Brainerd, a department lieutenant, commanded a firefighter as he prepared his rope. The firefighter backed toward the window then climbed out headfirst through the opening. “Hook the leg! Release the leg,” Brainerd advised. The firefighter dangled for a short time outside the window, then slowly descended to the ground.

Brainerd said the training was intended to develop the “muscle memory” of repeated action so firefighters can do it virtually without thinking. There’s also a psychological element to the training.

“It’s not natural, going head first out a window,” he said. “Everyone’s a little apprehensive on that first jump. Then they get a little more comfortable. It’s about having faith in the equipment.”

The fire lieutenant worked to make sure that the firefighters were using the proper grip when they went out the window — hand or wrist injuries can be a problem with the maneuver. He also counseled the trainees to wait a few seconds before they began their descent. The immediate goal is to leave a room that’s dangerously hot and full of flames, but it’s better not to rush once the imminent danger has passed.

The need for a quick escape is not a hypothetical one for Greenwich firefighters. Three of them suffered serious injuries when they jumped out of a burning building on Davis Avenue in 2003. Since, then department leaders have been looking at ways to improve safety and give personnel an opportunity to get out of a burning building fast.

The department has ladder trucks that can reach about five stories in height, but the bailout kits give individual firefighters an immediate exit strategy in dangerous conditions.

Deputy Chief Larry Roberts said the department looked at 13 different systems before settling on the Sterling F4, manufactured in Portland, Maine, and selling for several hundred dollars apiece. It weighs between three and four pounds.

“It’s compact, high-quality, fits well and the price point is there,” said Roberts, the training coordinator for the department.

Beside training on the gear itself, firefighters have been working on packing and storing the equipment in recent weeks. Once the professional firefighters are trained and equipped this month, the devices will be rolled out to volunteers who are certified to fight interior fires.

The firefighters were visibly perspiring as they went through the training, which was part of the exercise. The aim was to make personnel use the equipment coping with fatigue and physical strain, as in a real fire.

Firefighter Rob Despres said he was happy to take on the new equipment. “This is great stuff,” he said. “Another tool.”

Brainerd said he hoped his colleagues wouldn’t have to use the bailout kits, but was pleased they had another alternative for emergency exits.

“As for firefighter safety, it’s phenomenal, having that option. If you’re in there, on the second floor or above, and things go bad, it’s great to have,” he said. “They’re invaluable.”

rmarchant@greenwichtime.com