Elected leaders learn about firefighting

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Have you ever wondered what's it really like to be a firefighter? Some of Utah's elected leaders got the chance to put on the gear and see for themselves Saturday.
SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Have you ever wondered what's it really like to be a firefighter? Some of Utah's elected leaders got the chance to put on the gear and see for themselves Saturday.

It wasn’t all for fun and games. The fire union is hoping to prove a point.

“Typically elected officials leave with a new appreciation for the diverse emergencies we respond to and what it takes to be a career fire fighter,” said Jeremy Robertson, president of Local 1696.

It's that new appreciation Robertson hopes the elected leaders will take back with them to the city council chamber when it's time for budget cuts.

“Our message is safety and staffing levels, so we talk about a lot of the standards that affect us as firefighters and how many people it takes to respond to an emergency safely and efficiently,” he said.

From car extrications to ladder climbing and even just knowing what it's like to wear the heavy gear, it was an eye opener for many who attended the training.

“This is tough work,” said Sam Granato, Salt Lake County Councilor. “To wear the equipment, the helmet and have the air tank on and fight a fire, that's a lot of weight and a lot of heat coming at you.”

Holladay City Councilor Jim Palmer said he’s learned far more during the Saturday training than his time spent at city hall. “I’ve had a lot of briefings of the UFA, but those have been in an office setting, explaining staffing levels,” he said. “Evaluating from a very statistical nature.”
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