Sunday, January 10, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 114

Hi Team!

Today was an awesome, albeit LONG day!! I got up at about 20 to 6 this morning (that was really sleeping in compared to a work day!) and I have been busy all day up until right now! It is 11:25 pm.

Ladder report first. I slept very well even if it was a short period and it probably wasn’t any shorter than a normal day, lately any way. I’m taking 1 for that. I drank plenty of fluids, in fact I have been unable to slow down on that. I have been fighting headaches and a feeling of thirst. I know what that means, but I am denying it. I am NOT getting sick! That is 2. I can’t claim 3 but it’s not from laziness. I just was too busy. My day of scoring the quiz meet had me sitting from 8 am to 4 pm with a few stretch breaks and a lunch break. Then it was 4 hours of driving to get home! Not much room for exercise there. I’ll happily settle for the 2 for 3!

Now for the fun parts! After the meet, I stopped at the Soutwestern Polk County Rural Fire District main fire station, just outside of Dallas, Oregon to meet a friend who goes by the name of Gigaherz and tour his fire station. He was SO friendly and nice and gave us the grand tour. We got to see in the compartments of all the trucks and he explained everything to us in some detail. It was cool to note that their rigs had front mount pump panels, something I’ve never seen before. We got to climb into the trucks and see how the air tanks fit into the seats so that firefighters can strap them on on the way to calls and arrive ready to go. It looked kind of tricky but he said with a little practice it becomes easier, of course. My husband was with me so he got to see a lot of stuff he hadn’t seen before and asked some questions that I knew the answers to but he didn’t. He seemed to take some genuine interest in it all, which was way cool for me. I learned some things and I had a wonderful time.
Southwestern Polk County Rural Fire Protection District Main Fire Station, Ricreall, Oregon

Gigaherz told us about a large picture of a little girl that was hanging in the fire station.  The girl's name was Sabrina Harustak. Apparently, before Gigaherz joined the department, this little girl had a terminal illness. The fire department rallied to help her out and made her an honorary firefighter, gave her and her friends rides in the fire engine and generally took her under their wings. She has since passed away, sadly, but her name is in the roster of official fire fighters in their district and she is listed on their firefighter’s memorial statue and placque in front of their station. I think that is just absolutely awesome!  There was also one firefighter, a young guy, who died unexpectedly in his sleep from some kind of a seizure.  His dad is still a captain for the department.  He is included in this memorial and  his picture still hangs with the rest of the active duty firefighters inside the station.  Nobody wants to take it down.  That tugged at my heart a little.  What a sad thing to have happen and I know it must be hard for his dad, especially.  The young man was given a firefighter's funeral.  His name was Brian Rocha.

Firefighter's Memorial Statue  The little girl I mentioned has her name inscribed here, as does the young firefighter who died in his sleep.

I enjoyed seeing their trophies from competitions they have participated in (like cart races propelled by firehoses!) and their “wall of shame” commemorating mistakes that they give the “perpetrators” a hard time for and use as a teaching tool. ( for example, memorialized was what remained of a shattered helmet that had been left in a compartment of a truck, but the compartment hadn’t been closed properly and the helmet had fallen out and been smashed to bits.)

He shared with me some of his experiences in learning the ropes as a firefighter and a rookie mistake, and talked about the terrifying feeling of being inside a fire (I believe it was a training burn) in some of his earliest experiences. He told me a few tips for being more organized with one’s gear to save time and be more prepared and he showed us some of the personal equipment he has purchased for use in firefighting like his LED helmet light and his Houdini tool (seatbelt cutter, glass punch, etc) that he particularly likes over other similar tools. He showed us a patch collection from other departments that he or others have visited and traded patches with.

I didn’t have a patch to give him, though I would have brought him one if I had access to one from our local department, but I gave him one of the "Brother's Town" Fire and Rescue mugs that I got from my brother. I wanted to do something nice and show my appreciation for his time. He gave me a patch from his department. =D I of course gave him the cookies I baked for his station. He took a few and left most for the rest of the guys, much as I thought he probably would have.

I especially appreciated that he took the time to offer advice about how to fit in with the guys and gain acceptance when I do get more involved and closer to my dream. Advice about developing a thick skin, being able to take the jokes, course language and general roughness of hanging out with firemen and being willing to learn and WORK.  Things I have read about and only experienced small bits of while hanging around as a civilian and heard of from my brother.  He was very encouraging though, and I really appreciated it.

Before leaving, he talked about meeting up again sometime, perhaps in my brother’s neck of the woods and all going to lunch or dinner together, (his wife included too =D). I would love to do that! Before we left he gave us some driving instructions and tips to help us get home more easily. They were very helpful tips that we would not have had a clue about. He told us to call him if we had any problems and about how far he could go to help if we did need anything. And then he contacted me by text as we traveled to check on us. What a sweetheart! We kept in touch during our trip home and when I let him know we made it safely, he reiterated that he would like to get together again.
Dave "Gigaherz" Fox and Me

Really, this was a perfect day!


Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

1 comment:

  1. Karen,

    thanks for sharing the pics and your visit with us.

    you had a great time:that is awesome!!!!i'm happy for you.

    take care.