State lawmakers participate in PBCFR training

Posted at 7:51 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 19:51:57-04

It’s what firefighters call Rapid Intervention Training - or RIT.

It's used when firefighters need to save one of their own.

“We’ll go in, into the structure, and free this firefighter from the situation that he's involved in,” says Rick Sanchez, a Lieutenant with Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

“We want to be as much prepared as possible as we can, if that ever happens to us.”

It's training that many lawmakers have only heard of.

Wednesday, Palm Beach Fire Rescue put them right in the middle of it.

“We want them to come see exactly what it takes to do the job,” says Tara Cardoso with the Professional Paramedics and Firefighters of Palm Beach County.

Several legislators were in town Wednesday, hoping to show learn about the dangers firefighters deal with on the job.

Cardoso says it could help guide their decisions on bills that affect first responders, demonstrating why proper staffing, equipment, and funding from Tallahassee is key in life and death situations.

“Bills come across them at the state level all the time, and it's a lot easier if they could see first hand what our firefighters and paramedics do day in and day out before they cast that so important ballot,” Cardoso says.

Those votes set to become increasingly more important over the next few years.

Over the last year  Palm Beach County firefighters have been part of a long term study focusing on higher cancer risks in firefighters.

It's a bill that would address that issue failed in the most recent session.

State Rep Frank Artiles, who supported the bill, says more experiences like this could sway votes.

“We need more lawmakers to do this, so they can see firsthand what happens in real life and training,” he says.

“Until you actually do it, you don’t see the amount of work that it takes.”