As part of my job, I sometimes go on “ride alongs” with some of the agencies for which we dispatch. This gives me (us) a better understanding of what a regular day is like for our first responders, and hopefully will help us in our job of dispatching for them. We typically go on at least one “ride along” with a fire station within our district.
This past week I had the pleasure of spending the day with the folks at Station 2. There are 10 working fire stations within this city agency, and Station 2 is located in the northern area of the city. Originally, I was scheduled to ride with Station 3, but my brother-in-law (who is a captain at Station 2) called the training supervisor and changed my “deployment” for the day. 🙂
So, here are the lessons I learned at the fire station last week:
- I am too short to be firefighter – well, maybe not technically. My daughters tease me about being the short one in the family. I tell them I am not short – I am fun-sized. So I really hadn’t given it much thought – until I tried to climb up into the fire engine. I am sure I looked pretty awkward, trying to grab the bar inside the cab and haul myself up into my assigned seat in the back.
- Females can drive fire engines, too – and drive them very well. Our driver that day was Sara, and she is my new hero. She sent us barreling through the streets, code 3, dodging vehicles, and easily making all the corners – and I wasn’t even scared. Take that, all you female-driver-bashing troglodytes!
- Firefighters like recliners – in fact, the TV room at the fire station is full of them. Don’t think these guys and gals are lazy, though because they’re not. Hey, you try pulling a 24 hour shift, fighting a house fire all night, then having to come back and respond to medical calls all day, in addition to doing all the regular chores around the station. They have earned those worn Lazy Boys, my friends!
- Firefighters are great cooks – and they eat well on shift day. I have no idea how well they eat every other day of the week, but I know that when they are on shift they are eating well. OK, maybe not so much when a particular captain makes “Oregano Soup” – but I heard that was just a fluke.
- Elderly women love firefighters – we had a call at a local grocery store where an elderly woman had fallen and hit her head. When the engine arrived, she was sitting in a chair that store staff had provided for her, bleeding from the face with a big lump on her forehead. She didn’t want to go to the hospital, she just wanted someone to call her husband so she could get home and put her groceries in the refrigerator. She was about to refuse transport by the medics when a couple of the firefighters stepped in and talked her into going to the hospital to get checked out, saying that if she were their mom or grandmother they would want to make sure she was alright. She smiled sweetly, and said “Oh, all right. If you think that’s what is best.” Score one for the firefighters. Our captain volunteered to call her husband and let him know what was going on, and the store staff agreed to put her purchases into their fridge unit until someone could come back and get the groceries.
- And yes, you CAN make a delicious lasagna out of butternut squash! I just had to throw that in there for Mike! 🙂
And for more “ride along” fun, here’s a post about my police/sheriff’s department ride along.