On May 12, 2012, Taylorsville city officials had a day they will never forget...
... the opportunity to be a firefighter!
Councilmembers Ernest Burgess, Kristie Overson and Dama Barbour, along with myself, got to attend the Unified Fire Authority's "Fire School 101."
We showed up at 6:30 am, donning plastic fire hats that said...
The UFA does this event to help officials understand what it's like to be a firefighter. They educated us on the importance of having enough personnel when responding to emergency calls. They demonstrated two different scenarios - one with only three people responding and one with four. We were able to see how much better the situation was handled when there were four people to work on a heart attack victim.
We went outside and watched a fire emergency. Firefighters work in pairs and one pair cannot go into a burning building unless there are two others working outside. They showed us how much slower it is for response when only three are on one truck and they have to wait for a second truck to show up.
We had our own fire gear and suited up, ready for our events of the day.
Here is the Taylorsville delegation - Burgess, Barbour, Overson and Newton.
Our first task was to put out this major fire. We had to use oxygen masks and got to use the fire hoses to fight the fire. The heavy hoses had some kick-back when we turned them on, so someone had to help us hold and maneuver the hose.
It was an incredible experience being so close to the fire and feeling the heat through our gear, but still being able to breathe normally.
We all had firefighters assigned to be our host for the day. These men volunteered to participate on their own time. Here is Councilmember Barbour and her host.
We had the opportunity to climb this 100 foot ladder in our firefighter gear. It was so scary, but we did it!
Councilmember Overson and her host - a firefighter who works in one of our Taylorsville stations.
Councilmember Burgess and his host...
Another activity included wearing our gear and mask and having our eyes covered so we could only feel with our hands. We learned how the fire hose is the life line for these brave men. We had to learn how the hose felt so we knew if we were going the right way out of the building. I ended up soaked from crawling through water.
Another activity included getting to use the "Jaws of Life" to cut open a car. The tools were so heavy, but it was very interesting.
They even put our names on our fire helmets.
At the very end some of us wanted to drive a real fire truck. We rode down the street in this fire truck and then each took turns driving.
We were so exhausted when we finished our long, 12 hour day. We were also pretty sore the next day. But this was such an incredible experience and one we will never forget. We learned how important it is to have sufficient coverage for our city. An extra five minutes makes a huge difference in saving lives and property when there's a fire!
Here are some clips of the news coverage of this great day: