Community members experience fire fighting for one day

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – For those wondering what it takes to be a firefighter, the Anchorage Fire Department and the Anchorage Fire Fighters Union brought in people from the community to go through the same tests as the brave men and women who fight blazes every day.

Fire ops 101 is a program that brings in members of the community to see what it’s like to be a firefighter for a day. According to Jason Dolph, the Sr. Captain for AFD, he says the general population are the ones who make decisions about public safety by either voting on ballots or at assembly meetings. So, in order for them to make informed decisions, it’s critical that they see what’s going on behind the scenes. As Nick Glorioso, the President of the Firefighters Association says, there’s so much more than just putting out flames. Firefighting, he explains, is a man powered and technical job.

“The Anchorage Fire Department is an all hazards fire department and there’s a lot of different things that we do that a lot of people in the community don’t know about, so we use this as an opportunity to have them walk a mile in our shoes,” Glorioso said.

To walk a mile in their shoes, participants were paired with professional firefighters and completed tasks such as, rescuing a victim from a burning building, testing your fear of heights by climbing an aerial ladder to reach fires in high-rises, and using the Jaws of Life to save someone from a vehicle crash.

Even Mayor Bronson was in attendance getting a new appreciation for the demands and rigors of emergency operations.

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“Men and women courageously standing up and doing heavy lifting. We just got done crawling through a tunnel simulating a collapsed building and we’re about to go do indoor fire fighting. It’s very laboring carrying a lot of equipment and oxygen packs. You better be young and in shape to do this job, that’s what I learned,” Bronson said.

There were 70 firefighters in attendance, all of which volunteered their time to help inform the community.

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