AS the mask is pulled over my head by an officer, I am directed to take a big gulp of air just before my face is sucked in.

It is a shock at first, mainly because it's not something I'm used to, but then I begin to breathe normally and calm down.

I have just had a firefighter breathing apparatus mask and tank secured after racing Torquay's only female firefighter into the uniform of one of my hero's.

It is pretty heavy as I begin to carefully walk up the stairs, and while there is cool air around my face, it is warm in this firefighting outfit, and I'm not even anywhere near flames.

I am told it weighs close to 20kgs, which means I'm the size of a 75kg woman. 

It feels like I am doing a workout - my gosh I can appreciate the fitness levels of our firfighters.

While I had a lot of fun learning first-hand about what it's like to step into the shoes of a firefighter (minus the flames), an attempt by the guys for me to change careers was not a success. 



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