Congressional Staffers Take The Heat

November 19th, 1997 MFRI

Dozens of staffers from representatives of the Congressional Fire Service Caucus spent the day Tuesday finding out what taking the heat is all about at an annual event held at the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute's Training Academy on the campus of the University of Maryland at College Park.

The staffers and members of the media were invited to suit up and learn the basics of firefighting and rescue. Segments of the event included: running the men and women through the training academy's maze; having them gear up and don breathing apparatus and enter a burn building to see what its like to fight a fire and attacking a gas-fed fire.

The goal of the event, according to Pete Piringer, one of the organizers, is to give the staffers an insight into what a firefighter's job is all about and take those experiences back to Capitol Hill with them, furthering spread the message of the important job performed by America's career and volunteer fire and rescue personnel. At the event, more than 30 fire/rescue personnel from throughout the area were on hand to assist the staffers and MFRI staff to give hands-on training and relay stories from the front. MFRI

Demonstrations also included the use of home fire sprinklers; a Maryland State Police medevac helicopter; hazardous devices teams and robots from the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office and the Prince George's County Fire Department; Aerial tower operations and rides from the Riverdale Volunteer Fire Department and a vehicle extrication demonstration by the rescue squad from the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department. Members of the College Park Volunteer Fire Department also participated in the daylong event.

Later that week, many staffers and members of the Caucus will ride-along with various fire departments in the region, including the Hyattsville VFD, to get a real life look at on-scene fire, rescue and EMS operations. Additionally, staffers will see how personnel at the firehouses act as a family and work together as a team to save lives and protect property. MFRI

According to the Congressional Fire Service Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan organization which helps educate members of Congress on issues affecting the emergency services, the Caucus is the largest on Capitol Hill with more than 320 dedicated members from both parties "drawn together by a mutual respect and admiration for our domestic heroes."

Photos by MFRI's Dan Gross (Top 2) and CFSI (left)

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