Public gets behind-the-scenes look at being a firefighter

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Ever wonder what it’s like to be a firefighter? Saturday the public was invited to find out. That included FOX 4’s Katie Ferrell who went into a simulated burning building! She suited up for the Fire Operations 101 event at the Independence Fire Training Facility.

It’s the first time civilians were invited to participate in firefighter training. City Council members, lawyers, agency leaders, even news reporters wore full fire suits and self-contained breathing apparatus for a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into saving lives.

Kirk Stobart with IAFF Local 781 said the goal of the training is to not only educate the public, but city leaders about what goes into keeping the city safe.

“It’s one thing to go to the council members and these committee members and tell them what we need and why we need it, but to actually have physically come out and be involved and experience it you can't do that in a room,” said Stobart.

A public safety eighth cent sales tax expires next year. Craig McArthur, also with the Union, said responding to emergencies isn’t cheap.

“It takes a lot of money to save people's lives the equipment is very expensive a new ladder truck can run you from three quarters to a million dollars but that one day you need it you've got to have that ladder truck on scene,” he said.

McArthur said the department’s biggest needs are more staffing and new equipment. It said that way when the worst happens, it will be ready.

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