What it's like to be a firefighter

We're getting a closer look at the work that goes into being a firefighter.

Especially as of late the demands of these men and women, whether it's battling a raging wildfire or responding to a car crash, are very high.

It's a childhood dream for many, but few follow it answering the call when people need it the most.

"Until you walk in their shoes, put out these fires, you don't understand," said Houston Councilman Dwight Boykins.

City and state leaders as well as members of the media joined the Houston Fire Department for a special training aimed to educate participants on the career of a firefighter. Around 20 non-firefighters joined, including FOX 26 Reporter Stephen Morgan.

Several scenarios were played out, and participants were encouraged to take part.

The first mock emergency involved a person in cardiac arrest, located on the third floor of an apartment building. Houston Fire saying they respond to around 30 of these 9-1-1 calls on a daily basis. The key, they say, to surviving is not waiting for the EMT's to arrive, but knowing, yourself, how to perform CPR. It could be a matter of life or death for someone you love.

Then those firefighters-in-training were called to a house fire. Equipped with gear, the fire hose became a life-line, climbing to the second floor in near pitch black conditions to extinguish a fake fire.

Then with little time to waste, the group of participants were on the scene of a serious crash. On average, the Houston Fire Department will respond to at least 10 crashes a day that require some sort of extrication. "Tools on the ground," as it's called, oftentimes require these rescuers to free victims trapped in their car.

Not only are these first responders expected to know how to rescue a trapped person, they must also serve as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

"When they see it firsthand and experience it, it resonates," said Marty Lancton, President of the Houston Professional Firefighters Association.

Resonating, especially when participants felt what an actual fire was like. It wasn't long before flames and thick smoke billowed from the outside of the makeshift home that, unlike a typical house, can handle an inferno.

"Look at what happened during Hurricane Harvey. If it wasn't for our men and women of our fire department, we wouldn't have anything and we appreciate them," said Councilman Boykins.

The training taking place as the Firefighter's Union says men and women are being underpaid and using equipment that is out of the date. In addition, the Firefighter's Union claims there is increased pressure to respond with fewer personnel, adding pressure on those who do have to go.