CHICAGO (CBS) — We all know firefighters risk their lives every day, but have you ever wondered how much goes into their training?
The Chicago Fire Department opened its doors to the media Tuesday to give reporters a taste of what it’s like.
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez answered the call and reports it started easy enough a quick check of vitals before putting on 70 pounds of gear.
First drill: An aerial ladder climb, complete with instructors yelling at reporters just as they would candidates.
Mai breezed through the first few sections, but the weight of the gear started taking its toll near the top.
And it didn’t get any easier. Next up: a fout-story climb in full gear plus a 40-pound oxygen tank, a 13-pound ax and 50-pounds of fire hose.
Mai made it to the top, and so did all the other members of the media. None of the reporters looked too good, so there was another check of vitals, a lot of ice and a little break.
After that, most were ready to go again. Next up: automobile extrication. No problem thanks to the jaws of life.
After that, the last drill: saving someone from a dark, smoky room. It was pitch black inside and they had to crawl on our hands and knees, but they found the victim and got him out, to the surprise of some firefighters.
Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago told Mai that, “You did very good because in the past, we’ve had media people pass out. We’ve have many people, including candidates for the first time who look at that ladder and walk out the door. Not one reporter walked out so that’s good.”
Of course it’s all much easier to do when lives aren’t actually on the line. That is a luxury firefighters don’t have in real-life.
The reporters had race with the candidates. They were carrying twice as much equipment and gear, and they smoked the reporters.