Sunday, April 25, 2010

Report from Ladder Company 40 The New Adventures of Sparky and Flash

April 18-24, 2010   Days 210-216

Hi Team!

It has been a great week!  Well, there have been some ups and downs, but I am generally pretty happy.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome my newest team member, John.  I don't know how John came to find my blog but I am very happy to have another supporter on board!  Thanks for joining, John. =)

Ok, report card time!

Physical Training: C

Rest&Relaxation: C+

Health: B

Study Hall:  A

Total grade for the week:  B-

I am actually quite frustrated with the fact that I can't get the physical training grade up.  I need the exercise and I need to start really strengthening the core!  I won't make much of an EMT if I can't do the physical aspects of the work!  For those of you out there who are my prayer warriors please pray that Godwould show me how to fit it in and help me to balance it with everything else I have to do these days.

I have been better about taking SOME time off from work and studies, though I am still not getting nearly enough sleep.  I was so tired before class on Thursday night I didn't have the energy to eat my dinner!  Well, I managed, but it was a real effort  Being that tired makes driving kind of scary.  Needless to say, I nap when I can and I pray a lot!

I am still working on getting the fluids in and eating healthier.  I know I haven't weighed in for quite a while or taken my measurements to see where I am at.  After a month of class and no exercise, I am kind of afraid to.  But I will try to get that done for the next post.  Nothing like a little reality to help boost the will power to make the right choices.

As I said, I have found more balance between work and studies and have taken some time to relax this week, but I have also put in more hours of study than I care to count.  I would say I have averaged two hours a day in studies over and above work.  And I found a program online that is put out by the publishers of my EMT book.  It is a study aid for the EMT exam.  I find it to be way more challenging than the dumb stuff that came on the disc that came with my book and more challenging than the web site the book directs us to for further study.  The program was not very expensive and gives me free access for one year.  I think it was well worth the $35.00 I paid for it.

Okay, enough of that.  Last week I told you that something cool happened but I was sworn to secrecy until later.  Well, later has come! 

A little back ground:  If you know me very well, you know that I am involved in the Fire Buff Battalion.  The Battalion has been around since the early 1980's.  That was when I first decided I would really do something about my interest in the fire service.  Sadly, I was intimidated by the uniform and was too shy to talk to the firemen four doors down from my home!  So, when our city hired it's first female fire fighter I wrote her a letter and had my little brother help me deliver it to the fire station to pass along to her.  Long story short, he kept being my Linus Blanket and his interest and excitement for the fire service grew to epic proportions!  He got so excited about it that he had a portable scanner and small electronic siren mounted to his bicycle and he began beating the fire department to many of their calls, even in the middle of the night!  He was even investigated as an arsonist!  Before the investigations started, he got involved with the Fire Buff Battalion as a junior member.  For a number of reasons, not the least of which I believe was a personality conflict with at least one of the members, he was removed from the club.  He grew up and settled down but never lost his passion and excitement for the fire service.  He has been a fireman now for nearly 17 years.

Recently my brother had the opportunity to meet the current membership of the Fire Buff Battalion while he was in town visiting.  He met the core of our group (most of them, anyway) and we had a wonderful time listening to his stories and reminiscing about his childhood exuberance!  That night we got a fire and he was able to tag along with us!  He helped out and when things settled down on the fire scene, he made the rounds to the more long term fire fighters, introduced himself (many remembered him or had heard of him!) and apologized for his over the top enthusiasm as a kid.  The firemen seemed to enjoy it and I know my brother did.  

Good thing this was the short version, eh?  Ok, the point of it all is this:  At our April Fire Buff Battalion Meeting, our President brought up his visit and his past history.  She called for a motion to offer my brother an honorary membership in the Fire Buff Battalion.  Even more special than that, a recently retired fireman was the one to make the motion.  He remembered my brother from his early days.  The motion was seconded and passed.  A long-time wrong has finally been righted!  The Buff's affectionately nick named him Sparky.  So now begins the New Adventures of Sparky and Flash. :)

Last week I reported that I was in contact with a fireman from a large metropolitan city to the North of my town.  He had spoken to his captain who agreed to allow me to ride along one day.  But I still had to jump throught he departmental hoops to do it.  I found out from Ladder 8 (his screen name) that I had to write a letter of interest.  He told me who to write the letter to and I did it.  I wanted to reference our casual acquaintance in the letter and I didn't know his last name so I e-mailed him about it.  He e-mailed right back and I finished the letter.  He had recommended that I send it electronically but even on the website for their department, I could not find an electronic address to send it to so I e-mailed him again.  He e-mailed right back that he would find out the fax number and e-mail it to me the next day.  He did one better!  He called me on my cell while I was at work that afternoon which surprised the heck out of me.  He said he was calling to tell me that he had taken the liberty to print the copy of the letter I had sent him, signed my name to it and hand delivered it to the appropriate party!  What a sweetheart!  I can't believe he went to all that trouble for me, and we've never even met!  I got a letter the next day from his fire department along with a waiver that I had to sign and return before my request would be considered officially.  I have taken care of that already, of course.  And when I asked him what kind of cookies he liked so I can bring a thank you to him, he said, "Cap's favorite are chocolate chip."  I LIKE Ladder 8!

One more thing for this week.  I wanted to share an example of how good God is.  I have a fellow student in my class who sits right next to me.  He is kind of quiet and perhaps a little unsure of himself, but from what I can tell, he is deeply caring and compassionate.  I think if he gains some confidence he will make an excellent EMT.  He confided in me that he really could not afford a sphygmomanometer set (cuff and ears to those of you who don't know) and he needed to practice taking blood pressure outside of class where our hands on time is severely limited.  God really put it on my heart to do something.  But with my husband's recent demotion and pay cut, I was not sure it was prudent to be spending money that was not absolutely necessary.  Still, I really felt drawn to do this.  I talked to the hubby about it last Sunday before church.  After some discussion, he said we could talk about it more after church.  At church, a woman came up to me and said, "I have something for you."  I was quite surprised.  She took my hand and carefully palmed a few bills, folded, into my hand.  She said to me that it wasn't much but she was sure that I could use it.  That maybe I had a need or want that I could not afford and she hoped it would help.  Well, I was very surprised and thanked her for it but I didn't look to see what she gave me until I went home.  When I unfolded the three bills, it was almost exactly enough to buy the set I was looking at.  And then I heard from my mother-in-law that the keynote speaker at women's retreat that weekend had focused on this:  Use what is in your hand and be faithful.   The tears just rolled down my cheeks as the Lord confirmed not once but twice what I was to do and He provided a means to do it!  I purchased the set on Monday and brought it to class.  I asked my friend if he had been able to obtain a set yet and he said that he had not.  I took him aside and told him that God had put it on my hear to help.  I asked if he would accept a loan of a set until June 10th, the last day of class.  I thought he was going to cry.  Happily for me, he accepted.  My plan is to watch and see how he does.  If he remains serious and stays with the class, I intend to give it to him at the end.  If for some reason he is not able to remain, (which I seriously doubt will happen) I will speak to my instructors and make sure that someone else who needs it in a future class gets an anonymous donation.  It isn't mine after all, I was just given the privilege of sharing a gift from the Lord.  God is good!

Well, this post has been long enough.  Thanks for reading and thank you for all of your prayers, e-mails, comments and cheering for me.  You are all amazing!  I am truly blessed.

Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Stayin' Alive!

April 11-17, 2010     Days 203-209 

Hi Team!

I have completed my third week of EMT school!  And I'm still here!

Here's my report card:

Physical Training:  C

Rest&Relaxation:  B+

Health: B

Study Hall A+ and Extra Credit

Total grade for the week B

I did  not study as hard this week as I did the previous two weeks but I have in well over 20 hours of study on top of school so I think I am okay there.  I got a bit more sleep and more recreation time this week because I was going crazy without it.  I could be doing better with the fluid intake, but I am keeping a bottle of something with me where ever I go, with the exception of weekends, and if it is there, I tend to drink it without even thinking about it. 
The exam this week was a lot harder than I had anticipated.  I scored an 89 and the average class score was 82.4.  With 80 being passing, that means some of my classmates didnt' make it this time.  And I noticed by thursday there were only 31 of us in class out of 34.  It will be sad if we've already lost three students.  I was really hoping all 34 of us would make it. 
The practicals were hard!  I was unvelievably nervous!  Airway Module:  Mouth to Mask Ventilation had 6 points possible, all critical failures if missed.  Airway Module:  Oropharyngeal Airway had 6 points possible, all critical failures if missed.  Airway Module:  Nasopharyngeal Airway had 9 points possible, all critical failures if missed.  Airway Module: Ventilatory Management:  Bag Valve Mask -Respiratory Arrest had 6 points possible, 4 were critical failures if missed and ventilations had to be initiated within 30 seconds (to avoid critical failure) and demonstrated for a minimum of 30 seconds.  Airway Module: Oxygen Administration had 15 points possible, all critical failures if missed.  No pressure to perform here.  It is only Do or DIE!  But, by the grace of God I aced them all.  (Though I don't believe I should have.)  I think my evaluater was very kind to me because I know I let go of my oxygen cylinder to reach for an oropharyngeal airway without laying the cylinder down first and when I realized it I said, "Crap, I let go.  I wasn't supposed to do that!"but she did not mark it as a critical failure.  Perhaps because I caught it before she did, I do not know.  In any case, I'll take the pass.  I knew the right thing to do and I won't make that mistake again!
When the written and practical exams were over, my class mates on either side of me and I exchanged high fives and one of them did a little song and dance "Stayin' Alive!"   It was appropriate.  We're all still in!!
One thing that sticks out in my mind from this week was a demonstration that Cliff, one of the instructors did for us.  We were talking about trauma patient assessments and blood loss.  He told us that blood WILL freak us out.  He said that when we do exercises later in the quarter there will be moulage (make up of injury simulations).  He said he will be able to make one tablespoon of blood cause us to miss major threats to life, even though he is giving us advance warning.  To demonstrate he took a one liter bottle of water and mixed some stuff in it to simulate blood.  Then he took us outside and poured it out as he walked, leaving a six inch wide trail of "blood" that was probably a good 30 feet long.  And he finished with, "And that is not a life threatening amount of blood for an adult!"  It was pretty impressive, especially for a visual learner like me.
In other news for the week, I got brave and contacted a firefighter in a large metropolitan area to the North of where I live, whom I "know" from the Crusty Jakes website I frequent.  I asked him if he would be willing and or able to pull some strings and arrange for me to do a ride-along so I can get some visual experience.  He was very kind and spoke with a paramedic buddy of his and with his captain, who was happy to agree to it.  He got back with me and told me who to contact formally to make the request and gave me dates that would work for him.  It looks like it's going to happen!  : D  I have to write the letter this week but it sounded as if that was merely a formality.  I also spoke with one of the guys on our Fire Buff Battalion who just retired the 30th of March from our local FD and he gave me the contact name for our department and some tips to try and get a ride-along with them.    And the Fire Buff Battalion crew was very kind to me as well.  They all have been very encouraging of me in my schooling and several of them allowed me to take their vital signs last night at our meeting.  I really feel very fortunate to have made such great friends there, on this blog, on some of the social network sites and my fan fiction writing website.  Everyone really encourages me and supports me and it really makes a difference!
Another thing that happened this week is that Emergency! Season 6 became available.  I have been looking forward to this for a LONG time!  I went to Borders the day after it came out and they did not have any copies in store, even though I asked about it three weeks ago and they told me it would be in.  I was not happy.  I went over to our local mall to the FYE store to purchase it.  I could not find season 6 on the shelf, only seasons three and four.  I inquired at the check out and they said they had one in store.  But then another associate leaned over to the first and whispered something.  The associate helping me said, "Well, we have one in store but we cannot sell it because it is on hold for another customer."  I am sure I did not look pleased.  Here I was, in store, with cash in hand and they would not sell me what I came for.  He offered to order it for me and told me it would only take about two weeks.  OH GOODIE!   I am afraid I wasn't very nice.  I was mad that they told me they had a copy they wouldn't sell.  It would have been better to say they didn't have it.  I looked at him and said, "NO, if my money isn't good enough for today, it won't be good enough for tomorrow or any other day." and I turned and walked out.  I felt (still feel) a little badly about it because the man seemed nice enough and wanted to help, but for an item that was JUST released, you would think they would have copies available. I am pretty sure they did not have lines around the block for 36 hours and just sold out before I got there!   And I think it is terrible customer service the way they handled it.  I was very unhappy.  On saturday morning I let my fingers do the walking and found out that Best Buy had it and cheaper than Borders or FYE told me it would be.  I went and bought it right away! : D
I have watched four episodes this weekend.  I like it.
One other thing that is really awesome happened this week but I have been sworn to secrecy until it can be formally announced to the part(y/ies) involved.  It is KILLING me to keep quiet because I am very excited about it.  I hope that I will be able to share it in my next report!
That's about it for this week, pallies.
Stay safe!
Hotflash out.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 I'm Doing It

April 4-10, 2010   Days 196-202.

Hi Team!! (yes, TWO exclamation points.)

This was the second week of EMT class which wasn't quite as intense, thankfully.   Before I tell you about my week, let me give you my report card.

PT:  C

R&R:  B

Health:  B

Study Hall A+ and Extra Credit

Total grade for the week B
I have not really improved in my PT  because I still don't have much discretionary time. But I have been as active as I can. I am going to count being purposely active as at least partial credit since it is an effort being made. Therefore, when I am purposely active, like taking the stairs instead of elevator, walking around the area that I'm supervising instead of standing in place, etc. on a daily basis (at least 5 days in the week), I will allow a one letter grade upgrade for the week.   I think that is fair.
This week I have gotten a lot more rest than last week.  I went to bed early Sunday night and Tuesday night.  I even took some naps this week because I was on a modified work schedule for Spring Break.  It felt so GOOD to sleep!  I could still do a lot better here though.
I have been keeping a water bottle with me filled with either, water, orange juice or iced tea at all times.  I find that when I am sitting in class, I will drink my water bottle without even thinking about it.  In fact, in class on Thursday night I drank three waterbottles full.  (48 ounces in three hours).  For ME that is amazing!  I also learned this week that it takes 1 1/2 litres of water a day for the body to humidify the air we breathe on it's way into the body when the humidity and air temperature are normal for our area.   That is why when you are in the elements, especially windy, dry or hot environments, you need more water.  Now I know one of the reasons it is so important to drink our fluids!
Monday was our first class test.  We had a 50 question multiple choice quiz and two practicals.  The practicals were to put a patient into a rapid extrication device and then transfer the patient to a long spine board and secure the patient to the board.  Our instructor allowed us to come in very early before class time to practice and to have our questions answered before our test.  I was glad I was working on my spring break schedule because it allowed me to attend the extra lab time.  I scored 43 originally on the test which made it 86%.  80 is the minimum passing grade.  Our instructor allows us to argue or "challenge" the ones we get wrong as a class and if he agrees with our challenges, or partially agrees, he will give us credit.   He will only give us credit if we provide solid medical support for our challenge.  And then everyone who got the answer that you get him to agree with gets credit for it also.  BUT... if you get a question that way, it will still be wrong if you mark it as such on a futrue quiz or test.  In otherwords, if he gives you a future test with the same question and you get it wrong again, you will never get credit for a right answer for that question.  In anycase, class discussion and challenges raised my first score to a 98!  :D  And... I ACED the practicals!  WOO HOO and YAY ME! 
At the end of this post is an embedded code to see a video of the practical skills I tested on.  In the video, it is shown how to apply a KED (Kendricks Extrication Device) to a seated patient, such as a passenger or driver of a car.  The second half of the video shows how to move a supine patient (lying down, face up) onto a long back board.  My actual test included, applying the KED and moving the patient to the long board and securing the patient to it.  We used three rescuers and the video only shows two.  We learned to do things a little differently and I noticed one BIG flaw in the video, which was that the medic did not measure the patient for the cervical collar.  So, this video isn't perfect and it isn't exactly what I learned and practiced, but it will give you a general idea, if you care to watch it.  It is just under 9 minutes long, as I recall.
Monday I also had to turn down a fire call.  =(   The call came in around 12:30-12:45 in the day time.  I had just gotten to the grocery store after my shift at work.  The call was for a mutual aid structure fire but I did not recognize the address.  When I called in I was told it was at Brown's Point.  Ah, instructor Cliff is Assistant Chief at Brown's Point, Fire District 13.  He may have been there!  I don't know.  It was too far out for me to go on an afternoon when I had school in the evening.  :(  I hate declining calls even though we do provide a voluntary service!)  And wouldn't you know it, when the week settled down, I put in my request to the Fire Buff Battalion President, Cat to bring on the next Big One because I was now ready, willing and able to respond and all she could do was say, "I'll see what I can do."  Nothing has happened yet!  That was Thursday night!
On Wednesday, Cliff taught us about Adult Learning styles.  He helped us learn some techniques to retain more of what we were learning and to memorize things better.  He also demonstrated his point by teaching us to memorize all of the first 10 Presidents of the United States in ascending and descending order in about 4 minutes.  And guess what?   I still remember them all!  Of course it had nothing to do with becoming an EMT but the technique and exercise made me feel more confident.
Confidence.  I guess that is what the week really was all about to me.  We studied the hardest and most important chapter in our book this week, all about airway management.  I was pretty worried about messing up on it but we had our airway lab on Thursday and I did just fine!  I am pretty comfortable with the equipment now and I know the difference between a Pocket Mask, a Non Rebreather Mask, a BVM and a FROPV Device.  And I can insert an Oroesophogeal or Nasoesophogeal airway into a dummy  (who is not fighting me and who's gag reflex and the result of said reflex are not actually present)!  And I can pronounce everything I just wrote!  All in all I am feeling a lot better about this class and my abilities to learn and to do what is needed.  I actually found a little time to chat with friends online and to get in some writing.  YAY! 
One more thing I got to do was spend some quality time with my best friend, Coach Alex!  YAY!  We went to the Gem Fair at the Tacoma Dome on Friday evening and we bought the most BEAUTIFUL shell beads I have ever seen!  It felt SO good to have a little bit of a life outside of work and school!
Well, that is about it for this week.  Here is the link to that video I was talking about.
Have a great week and stay safe!
Hotflash out.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 What In the World Am I Doing?!

March 28-April 3, 2010  Days 189-195

I have been giving this new and improved blog some thought and I realize, that under my current circumstances, it is going to be very difficult to get a good grade for myself here.  I decided not to worry too much about it though and here is why:  In class this week we learned about vital signs.  The first set is called the baseline vitals.  This set of vital signs is a basis for determining how well our patient is doing when compared to later readings.  We can see through trending if the patient is staying stable or if the patient's condition is deteriorating.  When I thought about that, I thought the same is true of my grade in this blog.  Each week's grade is a baseline vital for the following week.  Keeping that in mind and knowing that I am giving my all in this endeavor to become an EMT, I feel a lot better about the grade, even though it doesn't meet the standard of where I WANT it to be.

This week's report card:

PT Who has time to exercise? D
R&R What's That? C
Health B-
Study Hall A+ and Extra Credit

Total grade for the week C+

Monday was the first day of class for me.  I hope that the weather was not a sign of things to come.  All day there was nothing but a giant storm cloud following me around.  One minute we had a brief glimpse of blue sky and sunshine then the angry black clouds would roll in and release their wrath of rain and hail upon us.  When they were through, they would quietly disappear and the sunlight would show for another moment before the next regiment rolled in.  The wind was relentless and unforgiving too.  All in all, it was an ugly day outside.  Great day for the first day of EMT school.  SIGH

I had been nervous and anxious about the first class all day.  One of my child care parents came in to  pick up his son before I left for school and when he saw me he asked me if I was okay.  I wondered why he would ask.  I was smiling.  I was engaged in activities with children.  I told him I was fine and asked, "Why?  Is my face red or something?"  (I have Rosacea, a skin condition that causes blotchy redness, among other things) Sometimes when the Rosacea acts up people think I am sick or getting sick so I assumed this was why he had asked.  He said that I looked fine it was just that God had really put it on his heart to pray for me.  WOW!  It is always so special to be loved and acknowledged by God. 

When five o'clock rolled around, I waved goodbye to my staff and the kids and I did something I have not done in over twenty years... I went to school.  I walked into my classroom about 35 minutes early.  There were two young male students in their seats, no where near each other.  I felt very shy and uncomfortable but, since I have been trying hard to overcome my shyness, I painted on a smile and walked in.  I made eye contact with the nearest student to me and said brightly, "Hi!"   I got absolutely no response whatsoever.  Really.  I glanced at the other student, across the room and he didn't look up at me.  I sat down at the seat in front of the first student and began looking through my text book again, reviewing the material that was to be covered that evening.  Rough start!

Shortly after that another young male student sat next to the one I had chosen to sit in front of,  the one who had so blatantly ignored me.  Their conversation was annoying at best and I realized I was sitting in front of two very immature boys who were going to annoy me to no end if I did not move.  Several students later, one walked in who was female and roughly my age.  She sat in the front row, which is where I really wanted to sit to begin with but didn't for some reason so I moved and introduced myself.  Her name was Cindy and she was at least friendly.  We chatted for a few minutes and presently, Adrian, a young man who had been in my CPR for the Professional Rescuer class spotted me and sat next to me on the other side.  I was very glad to see that he had made it into the class!

Our instructor, Tom, is a fire chief and paramedic for a local county fire district.  (We have a second instructor, Cliff, who is an Assistant Chief for another neighboring county fire district.)  Tom told us that we were no longer going to have any friends, social life or time for family or anything else for the next three months.  He gave us our course outline, walked us through the process of becoming an EMT Basic in Washington State and launched into the night's materials.  He was kind and understanding about people's schedules and personal lives but firm about his policies and the DOT requirements for the course.  At the end of the night I went home, expecting to be entering a dark house where everyone was asleep only to find out that my hubby waited up for me for my first day of school.  As soon as he hugged me and asked how it was, I burst into tears!  I was so overwhelmed.  I don't know how I am going to go to school and work full time.  I know God knows all about it, but I have to say, I am stressed out.

Tuesday morning I did something I have never done before.  I attended the housing ceremony for our local fire department's new Engine 10. As anyone familiar with the fire service knows, traditions are an important part of any department's history.  Some traditions universal to fire departments include bag pipes, red fire engines and dalmations. It is even a tradition that if one firefighter gets shown on television he or she must buy icecream for the rest of their crew.  Another tradition is the housing ceremony.

Housing ceremonies date back to the 19th century when  fire apparatus was usually a horse drawn wagon filled with water.  Even back then, when a fire company bought a new fire wagon, they invited the community to come see it.  After the community came to view it the fire crew would "push" the wagon back into the firehouse because horses don't easily go in reverse! 

While we no longer use horse drawn wagons for fighting fires, the tradition of a housing ceremony still exists in varying forms today.

The program was about a half an hour long, maybe a little shorter.  The prelude consisted of a lovely piece by a piper from our city's honor guard.  It was followed by a short speech by the fire department's spokesperson.  After that the Fire Chief spoke of the many runs that Engine 10 has made in her tenure with our department.  Our station 10 is the busiest in our state and the chief spoke of what great care that her crews gave her to keep her in such good shape.

The COO of the Darley Company gave a short presentation about what remarkable shape the old Engine 10 was still in.  He spoke of the demanding specs that the city required of his company when ordering apparatus and how Darley Company had worked so hard to meet those needs in great detail.  His speech was followed by the Vice President of Spartan Motors who shared similar information from the Spartan Comany's perspective.

Then came the fun.  "A" shift pulled out old Engine 10 onto the apron and the guests of the ceremony were given an opportunity to look her over one last time and take pictures before the crew "pushed" her off the apron for the last time.  Then  "B" Shift backed the new Engine 10 onto the apron.  Again there was time given for pictures and admiration of the new rig before the invocation and Blessing were given by the Chaplain Emeritus (he retired after many decades of service with the department this past January).  His prayer was beautiful asking that Engine 10 and her crews would be a blessing to the community in their service to it and praying for protection for the crews and citizens they serve.  I was very touched by it.

Once that was done, the community was invited to assist in pushing Engine 10 into the bay to begin her career and service.  I was first to take position on the front passenger corner and together we all "pushed" as the "B" Shift Chaffeur backed her into place.

It was a beautiful ceremony and not something I will forget for a long time.  After it was over, fire fighters and their families, administrators, citizens and the like all visited and shared light refreshments.  I made my rounds to the few that I knew and then went home to study.

Here are some facts about the retiring Engine 10 which was also a Darley Pumper on a Spartan Chassis:

Engine 10 has proudly served our city's South End neighborhood since 1996.  In it's lifetime it went on nearly 60,000 calls and travelled an amazing 201,428 miles in serving our community.

Some facts I learned about the new Engine 10:

The new Engine 10 is a state of the art fire engine.  E-10 has enhanced safety features and is compliant with EPA emission and fuel conservation standards.  The electronic pump and valve controls (for regulating the water supply) have been improved and designed to increase dependability and efficiency.  Engine 10 is 9 feet 5 inches tall and 31 feet 8 inches long.  It has a 1,500 gallon per minute Darley pump and two booster line reels.  The Engine carries 30 gallons of foam, 2,500 feet of hose and has a 500 gallon water tank.  It also contains a Class A compressed air foam system.


Tuesday after the ceremony I hit the books then went back to work.  I came home and hit the books some more before going to bed.  Just before going to bed, I did something I really didn't want to do.  In fact, I hated to do it, but it was the right thing to do.  I used my fire phone and put myself, "Canteen 7" out of service for the next 96 hours.  It was not a choice really.  Our code is family first, work second (including school) and Buffing third.  I will not be able to respond to many fire calls until I finish school.  I will be in service when it is appropriate to do so, but this class is definitely my priority.  I want to live the dream! 

The rest of the week consisted of getting up in the morning, going to work, coming home and studying, going back to work, then on Wednesday and Thursday I went back to school and finally came home to bed.  I didn't make it to bed before 11:15 any night this week until  Friday night when  I came home from work and spent about two hours goofing off (catching up my email, mostly).  Then it was back to the books until I went to bed about 11, but I didn't get up until 6.  SEVEN WHOLE HOURS!!!  WOO HOO!  When I got up at six I went back to the books and finshed up preparing for today's class.  Today we had lecture for four hours on lifting and moving patients and taking baseline vitals.  Then after an hour lunch break we had three more hours of class to practice our skills.  Monday will be our first test, both written and practicals.  EEK!  Class was over at 4:00 but I stayed after when Tom asked for a few volunteers.  (I'm not a dummy!  When the instuctor asks for volunteers, it is a learning opportunity and I was not about to pass it up!)  He had a few of us stay after and participate in a test for a former student who had taken an incomplete last quarter due to some extenuating circumstances.  One of us got to be his patient, the victim of a car accident, and the rest of us were part of the student's crew and were directed by him as he took charge of the scene as the EMT.

All in all it has been a very hard, challenging and trying week.  I spent many hours studying, few sleeping and pretty much none recreating.  I spent mostly driving time praying and did a fair amount of crying in private moments and while talking to God.  I am feeling a little better right now and I am still glad I am doing this.

I don't know what I would have done with out all the support I have gotten from you, my team members, my friends, co-workers, family and the families that I serve at work.  I am very blessed.

Stay safe, Team!

Hotflash out.