Denver Elected Officials Work as Fire Fighters for a Day
August 20, 2013 - Scorching temperatures beamed down on elected
officials in Denver, Colorado, as they experienced what it's like to be a fire
fighter for a day.
"This is an eye-opening experience," said Colorado Speaker of the House of
Representatives Mark Ferrandino. "I live by a fire station, but to experience
the work that fire fighters do physically and emotionally makes me have a
profound respect for those serving in the fire service."
Temperatures reached the high 90s, but Ferrandino and other Fire Ops
participants remained in high spirits throughout the grueling day-long event
sponsored by North Metro, CO Local 2203 and the North Metro Fire Department in
conjunction with the IAFF
John P. Redmond
Symposium and Dominick F. Barbera EMS Conference in Denver August 20-24. It
was the first ever Fire Ops event conducted by Local 2203.
The more than 20 participants included State Senator John Morse and several
Denver City Council members. The fire fighters for the day were dressed in
turnouts and put through four intense drills depicting fire fighting response to
a variety of emergencies.
Wearing SCBAs, participants performed zero visibility searches in a basement and
apartment fire, used extrication tools in a mock vehicle accident and responded
to an EMS call where a "patient" needed medical attention and worked on another
"patient" experiencing heart problems.
General President Harold Schaitberger addressed the group, calling Fire Ops a
very important event because it gives elected officials and members of the media
a "real chance to taste, smell and feel" the work of fire fighters. He also
thanked lawmakers who helped pass collective bargaining for Colorado fire
"Fire Ops 101 helps decision makers connect with fire fighters and the resources
and staffing that they need," he said.
IAFF 9th District Vice President Ray Rahne was also in attendance at the Fire
Fire Ops participant Tom Deland, the chief of police of the city of Broomfield,
praised North Metro fire fighters. "We've got the best fire fighters in the
state," he says. "Police and fire are two very different jobs. It was an honor
to be a part of Fire Ops."
Sandy Orent, a medical doctor and Fire Ops participant, said there are always an
extra pair of hands in the emergency room, but was impressed with the many
responsibilities that fire fighters must perform at once. "This was an
enlightening experience to see how hard fire fighters work and how fit they need
Local 2203 President Chris Reyes said the local held the Fire Ops 101 to raise
awareness among decision makers in Denver, and praised his local for a
successful event. About 45 Local 2203 members donated their time to help run the
Fire Ops. "I am definitely proud of these guys for putting in the time and the
prep work to make this happen."
The IAFF posted updated from the Fire Ops on Facebook and Twitter, and several
IAFF affiliates - including Prince George's County, MD Local 1619 - which was
provided increased staffing and additional funding for equipment and apparatus
after it hosted an event.
Norfth Metro Fire Ops
North Metro Fire Ops
Broomfield, state leaders get taste of life on the fire line (Broomfield
Lawmakers see what challenges firefighters face on record hot day (FOX 31