Sunday, May 16, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Hot Damn! Oh, wait... Damn!

May 9th-May 15th, 2010    Days 231-237

Hi Team!

It has been a crazy, busy week but I have a few moments to post (unlike last week that I just posted for a minute ago) so... Here are the grades:


Study Hall:  A+

Health: B

R&R: C

Overall Grade: B

I did a lot better this week with fluids but I really need to find some time for intentional exercise!  I saw some pictures recently that are not very flattering at all!  I look bigger than when I  started this climb, though my clothes are not getting too tight (whew!).  I know that some of it is just that my clothing choices have not been the most flattering and also that my clothes had been getting quite loose before, but at the same time I know I have gained weight since class started.  I don't have time to exercise or cook.  I have to rely on what my family leaves in the fridge for me and my husband will starve before he'll cook.  That leaves me at the mercy of my 17 year old son, need I say more?  When this class is over in mid June, I have got a lot of work to do!  It is kind of frustrating because I have worked so hard on it but something has to go by the wayside and this ended up being it. :(

A rather unflattering picture of me with my cuff and ears

  One of my fellow students, John, and I were practicing our skills together at school

Monday I woke up to quite a suprise.  It seems my blog was featured on Firegeezer.  For those who do not know, Firegeezer is one of the most popular fireservice oriented blogs out there.  It was really a surprise to see that others were interested in my climb and they had really nice things to say about me.  It was really a great boost to keep me going.  I did not know until my brother called me to ask how I had managed to get there, that my brother is an occasional content contributor to Firegeezer.  It turns out, one of my team members, Fireball, recommended my blog.  She sometimes writes for Firegeezer.  I just want to say a big THANK YOU for the nice things she said and for bringing me some extra attention.  It really is an encouragement to get surprises like that and makes me want to succeed all that much more!

We had our first training burn of the year this week.  I was so excited that the department decided to hold it on a Tuesday, because Tuesdays and Fridays I don't have class so I felt better about attending between work shifts knowing I would be able to study in the evening.  The home they burned was at one time a really neat home.  It was 6,000 square feet!  Yes, six THOUSAND.   The home had belonged to a plastic surgeon who passed away last year in his 90's.  He left it to his kids, in their 70's.  It was view property overlooking the Puget Sound.  It had an indoor swimming pool!   The "kids" were not able or willing to keep up with it so they decided to develop it.   The least expensive way to do that is let the fire department burn it down!   Sadly, I don't have ANY before pictures for you.  The house was so big that it's front yard was on one block and the back yard was on the next block.  We were staged at the backside of the house.  The front side faced the waterfront and the house was on a hill so we saw one story, ground level.  I didn't even know about what the other side looked like until it was too late!
I was very excited to be on this training burn because... well, since I've been in school I haven't gotten much fire action.  Also, I know stuff now.  Like signs and symptoms of heat emergencies, what to do for smoke inhalation, how to take vital signs, etc.  Canteen services are part of rehab which means we get staged next to the medics.  My Battalion president made sure the medics knew who I was (meaning that she told them I was an EMT student who needed to practice) and they were very kind.  They said they would be happy to let me assist with the medical portion of rehab, taking vitals while they watched. 
I was thinking to myself what a great day it was turning out to be.  The weather was beautiful, I got to go to a fire, I was being given the opportunity to practice my new skills and get feeback, I was spending time with the Battalion crew -which is ALWAYS a hoot!,  our new safety helmets were finally here and we were working out of Canteen 1 for my first time, and I got to hang around big red trucks and firemen!  I was in wannabe heaven!  Hot Damn!!!
Here's our crew (Some members were unable to attend)


This is the back of the house when things were just getting started.

Photobucket This photo was taken by a fellow Fire Buff, Firekat Babine.   "New Face Shield, Please!"   Looks like it was a little hot in there.

And then things went down hill.  First the rehab area got put downwind.  Not supposed to happen, but it did.  It was smokey and stinky.  We spent a lot of time not in our designated space.  Second, most of the best view was on the other side of the block.  Third, the medics spent most of their time actively involved with the burn, ready to go in as the rapid extrication crew.  Fourth, I had to go back to work (leave by one-forty at the latest) and they still hadn't taken a break for lunch yet.  The sandwiches were arriving as I was leaving.  Fifth, none of the crew came through the medic portion of rehab before lunch.  And the last bummer was that the major burn didn't happen until after I left!  DAMN! 

This is how things looked as I was leaving to go back to work.

And here are some photos Firekat snapped after I left!




Still, I had a lot of fun!  The firemen and our crew bantered back and forth ribbing each other which is good... it means we're all still one big happy family!  I even teased a chief and an officer who were kicked back on the hillside looking like they were relaxing and watching a show!  And I got teased when one of the engine crews parked behind my car early on and saw my license plate... "MOMMY."    "Are YOU Mommy?" they asked me.  Our president told me I should have told them "I am today, I'm going to take real good care of you!"  Because that is what we do.  We take care of them so they can take care of everything else.  And it is a privilege to serve.
This week in class was especially intense!  Normally we cover 3-4 chapters a week.  This week we covered 8!  In addition, we had class today, Saturday.  The morning was lab time and the afternoon was exam number three.  Usually I spend the weekend before an exam studying like crazy.  Not cramming... I study hard all week anyway, but really focusing on areas I think will give me the most trouble.  That was not possible this week and I didn't even have time to do any focused studying during the week.  It was all I could do just to keep up!  Still, I scored an 89 on the written exam.  The class average was 84 so there are a few out there who did not pass (remember 80 is passing).  I thought after taking the exam that I had done better than that but despite my best efforts to avoid it, I made some really dumb mistakes.  Like reading a sentence that starts out something like, " An abnormal rate of respirations in an adult is...." and thinking I read "A normal rate of respirations..."   GRRRRR!  I HATE it when I make those kind of careless mistakes.  I really try to go back over all the questions again but somehow, I still don't catch those kind of mistakes.  If anyone knows a strategy to help with that, I would greatly appreciate the input!  I did ace the two practicals, AED/Cardiac Management and EPI-Pen Auto Injector.
Well, that is the best of my week.  I'm headed off to our monthly Battalion meeting now.  When I get home I will add the pictures to this week's post and then post it.
Thanks for supporting me with all your well wishes, prayers and encouragement.  Hugs to everyone!
Stay safe!
Hotflash out.