BOSTON (WHDH) - Dozens of Massachusetts lawmakers suited up in protective firefighting gear to train with firefighters on Boston Common.

“This is an incredible opportunity for us to share the love and commitment that we have for the profession with our elected officials,” said Sam Dillion, president of the Boston Firefighters Union.

For three hours, lawmakers braced heavy smoke and dealt with the stress of saving lives. Exercises including spraying a fire hose, doing CPR and using Jaws of Life to cut open cars.

“I’m on the (Boston) City Council, and every year, we approve the budget,” said Democratic Councilor Julia Mejia. “Really having a hands-on experience and understanding what the tools are, what they’re used for, and also just the amount of time and energy that it takes to do this work is eye-opening.”

Others noted that although firefighters make the job look easy, it definitely isn’t.

“You really get a feel of what it’s like,” said state Rep. Steve Xiarhos, R-Barnstable. He added that the gear he was wearing was “so heavy, hot– it’s a lot.”

“The work that these men and women do day in and day out is so beyond our scope of understanding,” said state Rep. Brandy Fluker Oakley, D-Boston. “(I’m) immensely grateful for the work that they do, and for allowing us to experience it today.”

Several lawmakers said that the exercise gave them a better understanding of what bills and laws they should support to keep the firefighters safe and healthy.

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