Public Officials Pass “Fire Ops 101”

Broward County, FL – More than 50 mayors, city council members, county commissioners, city managers, state representatives, a county sheriff, and other public officials from Florida and across the country received a hands-on feel on what it is like to be a fire fighter and paramedic at a day-long interactive training session hosted by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) at the Broward County Fire Academy in Davie, Florida on June 11, 2003.

The first-ever “FIRE OPS 101,” put public officials through a series of realistic firefighter exercises, including riding on a fire engine, rescuing a victim from a smoke filled structure, feeling the heat of a flashover, performing defibrillation on a victim of cardiac arrest and much more. Participants wore full protective clothing and equipment for the exercise, including self-contained breathing apparatus and mask.

The training was designed to educate public officials to the realities and risks of being a fire fighter and a first responder on the front lines of America’s domestic war on terrorism.

To a person, the participants came away hot, sweaty, tired and convinced that the firefighting profession is more than a noble calling – it’s tough, dangerous and complex work. Inspired by the tremendous response and success of the event, the IAFF announced that the IAFF will be holding similar events at upcoming conferences, including the 2003 Redmond Symposium in San Francisco (October 5-9, 2003) and the 2004 IAFF Convention in Boston (August 15-20, 2004).

“We want decision makers to understand that fire fighting is a dangerous, labor-intensive profession in which time is the single most critical factor,” said IAFF General President Schaitberger. “Decision makers and the public must understand that if their communities do not have enough properly trained and equipped fire fighters on scene quickly, people die.”

Thirteen fire departments, more than 30 fire-service training instructors, and IAFF local affiliates from across Southern Florida were involved in conducting the workshop. The FIRE OPS 101 program preceded a three-day IAFF EMS Conference held at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida. More than 650 firefighters attended this year’s event.

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