Anne Arundel Co. firefighters hold training session for elected officials and candidates
Candidates trained at the Millersville Training Academy on Saturday, where they entered a burning building, performed CPR, and even took off the roof and doors off a car.
This was was the third year the Local 1563 held Fire Ops 101.
Firefighters volunteered to hold the daylong program of hands-on firefighting and rescue operations under controlled supervision of professional firefighters and paramedics.
Participants used spreaders and cutters, known commonly as the jaws of life, to cut open a car, the same tool emergency officials use to save a person trapped inside of a vehicle from a motor vehicle accident.
“It was quite enlightening, said participant Debbie Ritchie, who's running for District 3 seat in County Council, remarking that with the cutters, firefighters "show[ed] how they're able to open the doors up and do the most minimal damage possible to the person."
"This whole experience has been amazing," said Stuart Pittman, who is running for Anne Arundel County Executive. "It's showing a lot of elected officials and politicians what the tax money'sgoing for.
"Firefighters told participants one need they had for funding was for increased staffing.
They stated, in parts of Anne Arundel County, sometimes only two firefighters man a truck. In comparison, Baltimore City four or five firefighters will respond to a call.
"Fire Ops is an important factor to put our candidates through," said Joe Addivinola of AACO Professional Firefighters.
"They need to know the difference between pulling a hose in with one person or a hose in with two or three persons," said Addivinola.
"It's pretty heavy."Pittman entered building along with three other participants and some firefighters.
He walked through a hallway until he found a room on fire and held the hose as Councilman Chris Trumbauer shot the hose in the shape of circles and extinguished the flames.
"We had a lot people in there," said Pittman. "So, I was imagining what it would be like if there was one out at the fire truck and I was the one with the hose."
"It really makes it clear that we need to fund these departments."
"It's expensive," said Ritchie, "but what's the price you put on a life?"