San Bernardino County firefighters provide glimpse of daily life with hands-on workshop

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- The San Bernardino County Fire Department hosted a hands-on workshop to provide a glimpse of what firefighters go through on a daily basis - and they invited local elected leaders and members of the media.

From medical calls and car accident scenes, to attacking structure fires, I took part in all of the simulations during my day as a firefighter. But the smoke and fire was quite real.

Once I was suited up in head-to-toe protective gear, I entered a room with a controlled fire made to mimic a structure fire. Temperatures in the room reached between 200 to 300 degrees.

It got really dark. The black smoke enveloped me and then my fingers started burning.

That's something that most firefighters feel while battling flames, which can take a toll on your senses.

"Like sight, your hearing's a little off. The heat alone is screaming at you in your head," said San Bernardino County firefighter John Marini.

Once I extinguished the flames with a fire hose, I moved on to the other simulations and started to pick up a few things to keep in mind at home.

Firefighters say sleeping with your bedroom doors closed is an effective tool stop the lateral spread of fire, should one start in your home.

Fires also burn much hotter and faster than they used to, mostly because of everything inside the modern home.

"Petroleum-based products, LCD screens, carpeting, window treatments and curtains. The coffee table that's made of some polyurethane or plastic," said Marini. "That stuff is not what we used to put in homes in the 50s."

And, of course, have an exit plan for everybody in your family.
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