Local, state politicians train as firefighters, gain understanding

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HARTFORD – State and local politicians were training for a new role Monday. For one day only, they dressed and worked as firefighters, but the goal is that their understanding of the job will last much longer.

The Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut (UPFFA of CT) held its Fire Oops 101 Day at the Hartford Fire Department Training Center Monday morning. State representatives, town councilors and other officials were teamed up with career firefighters for a hands-on experience.

The training included different scenarios such as a structure fire, a car accident, and an emergency medical call. The UPFFA of CT described it as a day in the life “understanding a fraction of the physical and mental stress, importance of what we do, as well as the purpose of our actions and requests.”

Rep. Stephanie Cummings of Waterbury said it was an “incredible experience.”

“I mean these men and women put their lives on risk every single day. For us to make decisions and laws about their career, it's just a small taste of what they do on a daily basis and it helps us understand and represent in a better capacity,” said Cummings.

Southington Deputy Chief Scott DiBattista said it’s important that lawmakers understand their jobs because decisions they make will affect fire departments around the state.

He said, “No matter where you live firefighters are always ready to respond to handle any emergency that they may have. That’s our core mission. That's why we're here and that’s why we hope with Fire Ops 101 that we're able to get that message out to decision makers to see the importance of what we do.”