SPOKANE, Wash. -- Firefighters play an important role in our community and becoming one is no easy task.
Fire Ops 101 is full of real life rescue scenarios to help lawmakers, city representatives, and media understand what it is like on the job and they did not take it easy on us. Even some members of the Spokane city council members went through the training.
“I didn't finish the day actually,” Council President Ben Stuckart explained. “What put me over the edge was I climbed up the six-story building with 80 pounds of equipment on my back.”
Stuckart has been the Spokane City Council President for years and said the job does not even compare.
“I always talk about how I couldn't be a fireman for even day,” he said.
Officials said 80 percent of the calls in Spokane do not involve fighting a fire. Responding to cardiac arrests, drug overdoses, and medical emergencies are a large part of a firefighter's responsibility. The key is man power and teamwork when it comes to Pit Crew CPR, a new highly effective technique.
When firefighters do get called to a fire, they are prepared for any situation. From putting out a blaze in a dumpster or a house, firefighters showed everyone how highly technical, labor intensive, and time critical each call can be. Especially when you are dealing with seconds to spare.
“If you have been involved in a horrific car accident you want the right people to show up with the right equipment in a timely fashion and know what they are doing,” said firefighter Jeff Pugh.
The Spokane Fire Department only has three life saving tools but getting the funding for more equipment is not simple, Stuckart explained.
“There is a grant right now that is paying for 44 firefighters but that money runs out in 2019 and we don't have a plan to replace those 44 firefighters. You got equipment needs and then you got firefighter needs,” Stuckart said.
A balance that is difficult to make when it comes to saving lives. With the number of firefighters decreasing and the number calls increasing every day, Stuckart knows how critical funding is.
“I think everyone that goes through fire ops understands the job a lot better and really takes into account when prioritizing issues going forward,” Stuckart explained.