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Hands on Fire Training at HAMMER

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RICHLAND, Wash.- KNDU Reporter Ken Wiegand joins a list of public officials for a day of hands on, intense fire training at HAMMER.

To get a feel for what firefighters actually do, they put him through the most realistic training they could, he even wore the entire firefighting outfit, and carrying about 50 pounds of equipment along really teaches you how hard these people work everyday.

"You guys need to get your stuff on, get ready to go, and, we're going to go get hot," said Brian Hurley, a Tumwater firefighter. 

It's every kid's dream to be a firefighter, but many don't know how hard the work is. 

"You're going to do everything that we do, you're going to wear the same equipment, the same air packs, when we work on a medical scenario, you'll be doing CPR, you'll be, I don't think starting IV's but you'll be watching us do that, literally, you'll be doing exactly what we do," said Andie Thompson, a Kennewick firefighter. 

Fire Ops 101 gives local decision makers a chance to be firefighters for the day, and see what these brave people actually do.

"This is the first time in 15 years that I've tested a fire hose and pulled the nozzle, and I don't know what the pressure of that coming out of there is, but, I mean, you know, it backs you up,"  said Richland City Councilman Dave Rose after exiting the burn building. 

Everything from actually putting out a fire, to climbing the ladder, you can do it all, even rescuing a critical patient from a car accident, it's all part of the training.

"We went through some different basic and advanced styles of extrication and we, and we used a vast assortment of tools, depending on, you know, what your personal department carries, they would go one direction or the other, we've got quite an array," said Aaron Lamb, a firefighter from Puyallup.

The experience is meant to give decision makers a chance to learn firsthand what goes on. Instead of just hearing about it, it's the chance to actually do it themselves.

The officials I talked to say they will take home a new sense of respect for their firefighters, and now they can relate to them better, that's just the goal of the Washington Council of Firefighters when they designed the day.

This is only the second time this type of training has been offered, and they said, with the success that it's been, it's no doubt they'll be doing it again.