Los Alamos County Council Chair David Izraelevitz, right, participates in Fire Ops 101 May 5 in Albuquerque with Los Alamos Fire Department Driver/Engineer Mike Montoya who accompanied him throughout the day’s activities. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos County Council Chair David Izraelevitz, center, participates in a CPR exercise during his Fire Ops 101 day May 5 in Albuquerque. Courtesy photo
Scene from Fire Ops 101 May 5 in Albuquerque. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos County Council Chair David Izraelevitz got to experience firsthand some of the adrenaline rush, immense stress and challenging physical requirements faced by firefighters when he participated in Fire Ops 101 May 5 in Albuquerque.
Izraelevitz joined elected officials and community leaders from around the state for the program which was developed by the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) and hosted by IAFF, Albuquerque Fire Department and Bernalillo County Fire Department. He was accompanied throughout the day by Los Alamos Fire Department driver/engineer Mike Montoya.
Mike Judge, communications director for the New Mexico Professional Firefighters Association and a Santa Fe County firefighter based in Pojoaque, said throughout the day Izraelevitz and other participants were involved in various fire rescue scenarios.
“They suited up and entered a burning building where temperatures ranged from 1,300 to 1,500 degrees. They extinguished a vehicle fire and helped with a vehicle extrication using the jaws of life. They got to use the newer and more maneuverable tools available to fire departments and were able to break windows and open doors on the vehicle,” Judge said.
Izraelevitz also participated in an aerial climb to the fourth floor of a training building where he entered a smoke-filled area with his face shield completely blacked out wearing self-contained breathing apparatus.
“I didn’t realize the lack of visibility they have. It was very disconcerting. Now I know why public accommodations are so strictly regulated – trying to find someone in an environment where you can’t see anything,” he said. He also mentioned what a powerful experience it was to go into a 1,300 to 1,500-degree fire and experience the temperature while standing and kneeling and breathing through a mask.
Izraelevitz said he appreciated Montoya for being his “wrangler” for the day and for providing him with the necessary orientation for the various activities and thoroughly checking his safety equipment.
“I was honored to be invited to participate in the program. I now have an enhanced appreciation of the training and equipment needs firefighters have as well as the physical and mental stress they go through,” he said.
Izraelevitz’s invitation to the event came from LAFD firefighter/paramedic Bert Quintana who is president of the Los Alamos Firefighters Association, IAFF Local #3279.