Firefighter training at HAMMER - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Firefighter training at HAMMER

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RICHLAND, Wash--  For firefighters, training at the HAMMER facility is as real as it gets.  On Friday, emergency responders spent hours going over any scenario they might see on any given day.  But the drills came with a little catch--some of the people participating aren't firefighters, they're policy makers. 

"We're bringing policy makers, people that have the ability to set policy," explains Captain Ricky Walsh with the Richland Fire Department.  "Whether it's funding or manpower for the fire service, we're bringing them out there and giving them a day in the life of a firefighter."

The idea was to give them an inside look at their line of work, with the ultimate goal of getting more helping hands.

"The entire Tri-Cities, the fire services itself, right now is stretched to the maximum," Walsh explains.

And policy makers realize that.

"Any of these events can look like they need 10-12 people.  And I think Richland has only about 12 firefighters working on a shift during the day for the whole city," explains Phillip Lemley, who serves on the Richland City Council.

Funding aside, Friday's drills at least highlighted how hard this work really is.