19 elected officials and leaders from Wichita and surrounding cities suited up in protective gear to see what it is like to be a firefighter for a day.
In small groups, participants took turns battling a structure fire under the controlled supervision of firefighters.
“We had fire going over the top of our heads,” said David Dennis, Sedgwick County Commissioner of District 3.
“You could feel the heat from the outside,” said Donna Clasen, Mayor of the City of Maize.
It’s one of four simulated scenarios officials with Wichita and Sedgwick County experienced first-hand Saturday at the Wichita Fire Department Regional Training Center.
“It brings us all together here to show the importance of what we provide to the community and the needs for the equipment, the gear, the people, and the trucks,” said Matt Schulte, President International Association Firefighters Local 135.
It’s called Fire Ops 101 and it’s the first time WFD and the local firefighters’ union hosted the event.
From giving CPR to save a life, to walking through a home filled with smoke as part of a search and rescue operation, participants say they walked away with a deeper appreciation for what Firefighters do to keep us safe.
“If you see your local Fire department in the community, please thank them for what they do, said Becky Tuttle, Wichita City Councilmember. “They really are protecting us in ways that most of us don’t even realize.”
Wichita Fire Chief Tammy Snow says with all the positive feedback, they will consider doing this program again next year.