B.C. politicians, government workers face the heat in firefighter simulation
Firefighter training held to show people real-life hazards that crews face
Several B.C. politicians, government workers and members of the media suited up in firefighter's equipment Monday to learn how to put out fires, cut open cars and rescue patients in Vancouver.
Many of the participants got to experience what it's like to fight a fire in a dark, enclosed space while wearing heavy firefighter gear like masks, air tanks, boots and jackets.
Making entry into an enclosed space with live fire burning <a href="https://twitter.com/IAFF18">@IAFF18</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/IAFFCanada">@IAFFCanada</a> <a href="https://t.co/4uyZ5u5eoE">pic.twitter.com/4uyZ5u5eoE</a>—@gpsmendoza
"Well, I did a couple of squat thrusts this morning...but uh, I'm pretty soft. It's going to be tough for me," said B.C. Premier John Horgan, who was one of more than 20 people participating in the event.
Vancouver Fire battalion Chief John Mantei said the event is a good opportunity for the public to understand some of the hazards firefighters can face at work.
"We deal with a lot of meth labs and grow-ops," said Mantei. "Some of those grow-ops and meth labs are booby-trapped to protect them from other people trying to gain access to them."
Mantei said the physical and mental exhaustion that comes with this kind of work can take a toll on crews.
"Obviously, a lot of PTSD is stuff we're dealing with," he said. "That's a hazard of this job and for any first responder."
Some participants said they didn't expect the event to be so physically exhausting.
Premier vs PT cruiser <a href="https://twitter.com/jjhorgan">@jjhorgan</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/bcndp">@bcndp</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/IAFF18">@IAFF18</a> <a href="https://t.co/M35H2F2fe3">pic.twitter.com/M35H2F2fe3</a>—@gpsmendoza
"I now have a better understanding of just...the pure physical strength they need. That tool, I couldn't carry it by myself," said WorksafeBC director Jennifer Leyen, after using the Jaws of Life to cut open a car door.
"I think that the men...and the women that are doing this job have to be incredibly strong."