Fire Ops 101: Firefighter in training for a day - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fire Ops 101: Firefighter in training for a day

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RICHLAND, WA - Fire Ops 101 has been going on for 12 years at Hammer Training Facility in Richland. It's meant to give city and government leaders an inside look at what firefighting is: time critical, highly technical and labor intensive. 

Nearly 30 civilians from around the northwest suited up in turnouts for the first time. They included members of the media, city council members, public information officers, and even parks and recreation representatives.

"What I learned out here is, it's a heck of a lot harder than I thought it was," said one participant.

Participants spent a full day at six low frequency, high intensity scenarios with a safety shadow.

"We don't run into these every day and we need to be prepared so when we do run into them, we can be as efficient, well trained and educated as possible," said Kennewick Fire Department Firefighter Brian Carter.

"So it allows for an elected official or a civilian or anyone around city government to experience why we need seven people on a CPR call, you know why do you have a fire engine that shows up," said International Association of Firefighters Seventh District Vice President, Kelly Fox.

We learned firefighting is so much more than knocking down fires - it can be heights and conquering fears.

"We're going through some scenarios and showing her what we might be able to do when we come in to work every day," said Carter.

Every day can be and is different. Nearly three quarters of calls are medical, not fires.

Kerry Abercrombie is a fire commissioner for District 25 in King County. He's in charge of budgeting and capital purchases.

"If you don't know what they're doing and they come to you and ask for $10,000 or $20,000 for a piece of equipment you question why do they need that? Here you know why it's needed," said Abercrombie.

He'll take back his training on everything from search and rescue to venting to extrication and share it with his fellow commissioners. Although, he admits, there is nothing quite like doing it.

"Come and do this. So they can experience what the men and women in our organizations do every day. It will give them a totally new light on what it's all about and frankly a heck of a lot more respect," said Abercrombie.

Fire Ops 101 takes about 100 local volunteers to put on. 

KNDU would like to thank Kennewick Fire Department specifically for sponsoring Tracci Dial and Firefighter Brian Carter for being her 'safety shadow.'