Training Event Shows What It's Like To Be A Firefighter - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Training Event Shows What It's Like To Be A Firefighter

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MISSOULA -

Journalists and lawmakers get a glimpse of what being an emergency responder entails at a training event in Richland, Washington. The Missoula Rural Fire District took part in the training for the first time ever last week. ABC FOX Montana's Ashley Sanchez joined them on their trip to find out what a day in the life of an emergency responder is like.

Filling the shoes of a firefighter for one day is no easy task.

"They said it was going to be hard, but it's a little harder then I was expecting," said Port of Seattle Commissioner, Stephanie Bowman.

Starting with putting on the gear and ending with performing CPR on a patient as he was transported to the hospital. I was one of two Missoula participants who got to experience the intensity and stress only an emergency responder would understand.

"It's a very accurate portrayal of what we do, not every single day, but quite often and we are expected to be prepared to do these things every day," said Missoula Rural Firefighter, Eric Huleatt.

Shadowed by Missoula Rural Firefighter Eric Huleatt, I took part in six rescue scenarios, like entering a burning building, putting out two fires, and saving a trapped passenger from a wrecked vehicle.

"It's fantastic to watch other people get their eyes open to what we're capable of doing and what we're expected to," said Missoula Rural Fire District Engineer, Toby Ballard.

While Missoula Rural Firefighters said the event does give a glimpse of some cases they respond to, and the man power it takes to do their job, they add, there's going to be some more challenges to overcome in Missoula.

"There's a lot of hazards we deal with, and the biggest challenge is being able to adequately staff our engines in order to keep ourselves safe while keeping public safe as well," Huleatt said.

"When we have one or two, or if we're lucky three or four, we can only do half the work, and it's twice as dangerous with that few people," Ballard said.

While it may be hard to overcome the challenges that come with responding to an emergency, when lives are on the line, there are no other options.

"It's different then any other job, we're expected to be prepared for anything at any time," Ballard said.

Tuesday night on the Fox Montana News at Nine, we'll take a closer look at why this event has been held for the last 10 years, and dig deeper into a shortage of firefighters, not only in Missoula, but nationwide.

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