SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - It's the service you hope never to have to use, but you're always grateful it's there. Firefighters, paramedics and EMTs there to help you in an emergency.
San Francisco firefighters train at a facility on Treasure Island. But today it was a different crowd being educated in what it takes to wear firefighting gear.
"The intensity of this, which is really just a fraction of what they really have to deal with, it really brings it home," said Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis.
15 elected officials participated in 'Fire Ops 101,' a program put on by San Francisco fire dept. meant to give officials a first-hand taste of what it's like to be on the front lines during an emergency.
They geared up just like firefighters do, and then the face a series of trials.
Things like, responding to a multi vehicle car crash, performing an extrication from a vehicle using the jaws of life, putting out a fire, and rescuing a victim from a burning building.
"The appreciation I have now, for what they do every day, has completely changed. We are so lucky to have these brave men and women who serve us and keep us safe every day," said Hillary Ronen, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
This event hasn't happened for 20 years. Organizers say there is a disconnect right now with city leaders over what exactly happens on a day-to-day basis, even confusion over the terms first responders use.
They want elected officials to really see what it's like for firefighters, and paramedics to do their jobs, and also see some of the challenges they face every day.
"I think they're going to say, 'Wow, I never knew that.' I hope that's what they will walk away with, is an enlightened experience," said Adrienne Sims, of IAFF Local 978.
The fire lieutenant says the department is going to lose their Treasure Island training facility in 5 years.
He's not sure where they're going to go next, but he knows it has to be up to date, so they can deal with issues they are seeing more and more.
"We want to make sure that we have another facility to transition into for training, as well as for our new recruits that come in, that are going to need this training to help them on the field," said Lt. Ken Smith of the San Francisco fire dept.