WESTPORT — Officials with a burning desire to get a first-hand taste of what life is like for local firefighters took part Saturday in “Fire Ops 101,” a program designed to shed light on the job and its challenges.

Members of the Board of Finance, the Representative Town Meeting members and XXXX the better part of the day trying their hand at firefighting and rescue operations under supervision of professional firefighters. The participants included Representative Town Meeting members Allen Bomes, Lynn Hogan and Jimmy Izzo, Board of Finance members John Hartwell and Lee Caney, and members of the Fire Department Strategic Planning Steering Committee Bob Galan and Jim Hines.

The “recruits” started their day in the training room at Fire Department headquarters as firefighter and Westport Uniformed Fire Fighters Association Local 1081 President Nick Marsan described what their day would be like, from turnout gear they would be wearing most of the day, to the current staffing, responses and responsibilities of the department.

Once the recruits donned their firefighting gear, they were transported them to a house on Greens Farms Road slated for demolition that was to be used for realistic training scenarios. The operations included search and rescue, which tested participants in rescuing two occupants from the smoke-filled house; hose line advancement to extinguish the the fire, and a vehicle extrication exercise that entailed use of hydraulic rescue tools as well as hand tools.

Each Fire Ops 101 participant learned how to use self-contained breathing apparatus needed to operate in heavy smoke conditions; using a thermal-imaging camera to help search for victims inside a burning structure, and how to continue working in conditions that equate to in zero visibility, according to program organizers.

First Selectman Jim Marpe also stopped by to check out the drill, as did families of participating officials.