01 January 2006

Lazy Day

We got a very, very late start today. We didn't get up until about 1300. I still had a splitting headache. I have never gotten a hangover before, but it is what I would imagine it to be like. I just wanted to lie back in bed. I could tell as soon as I stood up that I had gotten myself sick from standing out in the cold yesterday. My nose was stuffed up, my sinuses hurt, I was coughing, my throat hurt, and my lungs felt really heavy. I really hope this doesn't turn out to be more than a cold; the last time I felt like this it turned into pneumonia. Great-let's hope that doesn't happen. Either way, colds always last a lot longer, and are more severe with me than most other people. I'm not quite sure why, but I attribute it to the fact that I have asthma. Oh well.

I got up anyways. I took a shower and felt a little bit better. Since we had blown most of the day sleeping we had to make a quick decision as to what to do with our few hours of daylight. we ended up going to Huntington Manor Fire Department which is just down the road from where we were staying. When we got there we ran into two police officers; in that part of Long Island they do shift changes at fire stations because it is more convenient. One of the officers took us over to the dispatch center and introduced us to one of the firefighters.

The guy was really nice. He showed us all the apparatus, which once again, was amazing by my standards. They seemed to have even more apparatus than West Islip. They also have two other stations. They had at least 2 engines, 2 trucks (with a brand new 3rd in the shop), a heavy rescue vehicle, a smaller version of an engine to fit into the parking garage, a dump truck, a fire police vehicle, command vehicles, and a huge semi-truck cab for towing the engines if need be. I think they also had some other stuff, but I can't remember everything. Like West Islip, they had company lounges which where set up very similar.

We got to see the memorial that is set up for their previous Fire Chief who was lost on 9/11 with F.D.N.Y. Squad 4. He wasn't even supposed to be working that day-he was called in to cover someone else. His wife went into labor with their child on the day of his funeral. It was really sad. Another town close by (Dix Hills) also lost their Fire Chief-he was found with the Chief from Huntington.

Another firefighter walked in as we were getting the tour and offered to take over. He was an officer on the hook and ladder company. He showed us around the rest of the building-which was absolutely huge. We saw the upstairs first. Their kitchen even put West Islip's to shame. It had just been redone. They had commercial everything-even their pots and pans looked like they cooked for an army on a daily basis. They even had a deep fryer like they have at fast food restaurants and a walk in freezer/fridge. They also have a dumbwaiter in the kitchen to get from the basement up. The guy giving us a tour told us when they have parties he likes to climb into it wrapped in a garbage bag and ride it from the basement up. He especially likes it when someone opens it and he pops out of the bag :). Around the corner was a huge wet bar, dance hall, and auditorium. The rest of the upstairs area was made up of offices. They also had an elevator-just in case you don't want to take the stairs.

He then proceeded to show us parts of the first floor that we missed. We saw the "miniature kitchen" that is even bigger than the kitchen at my fire house. They also had a TV and huge table in the room- it is right off the bay floor. He then proceeded to take us downstairs to show us the rest of the station. There was another kitchen, wet bar and sitting area with a huge TV. There was also a pool table, shuffle board and poker tables; not including all the regular tables. I was in awe. The guy was like, "this bar is for the rowdy crowd...there really isn't anything down here they can break...we use it mostly for super bowl parties-that kind of stuff." Yeah. The closest thing we have to a "bar" in my station is the bar stools that are up against the counter in the kitchen.

We went outside and took pictures of the outdoor memorial and the building. We also swapped out patches, t-shirts, and got local "fire news" newspapers. We also talked about the normal stuff-like the type of nozzles and hose they use, what they use as a preconnect, if you are assigned a specific task according to your place on the truck/engine, etc. I was surprised by the differences in Huntington and West Islip. Huntington uses a 1 3/4 pre-connect with an interchangeable nozzle (it can flow anywhere from a straight stream to a fog stream). West Islip uses 2 1/2 pre-connect, and they swear by a smooth bore nozzle. West Islip has defined exactly what apparatus and position you will take-such as if you are an "engine guy" you will be on the engine for the call. In Huntington, you could be on the truck or engine, but whatever the call came in for, you got on that apparatus and assumed that position, regardless of which company you are on (Hook & Ladder, Engine, Rescue, etc.).

We also discussed the "passport" or "tag" system. At my department (and all the departments around me that I know of) we use the passport system, with our names attached with velcro to the inside of your helmet. There are several there, and when you get on the apparatus, your passport gets stuck on another larger piece of velcro in the rig. Usually you have 3-4 passports so that one stays on the apparatus, one stays on your helmet, and one goes to the incident commander. In Long Island they use a tagging system that is basically a plastic tag (much like a drivers license) that clips onto their jacket. It has their picture on it, and info such as height, weight, etc. This gets turned into command on a call. It is interesting to see things from a different perspective than I am used to.

By the time we left Huntington Fire Department it was already dark out. We drove around a bit, stopping at my friend's old hang out places, and we visited with one of his old neighbors. Then we did the "one stop shopping" at 7-11 to get sandwiches and stuff for dinner.

I called it a really early night. My friend stayed up to entertain Tony. He ran out to the store while I was sleeping. When he came back into the parking lot he used the second entrance instead of the first one- not realizing that the curb was really high. He ended up going up and over a section of the curb to make it into the parking lot. It messed up the rental car pretty good-scratched up the hubcaps and dislodged a piece of the car below the doors. Tony and my friend looked at it afterwards and decided to fix it. The called it something that I can't really repeat because I don't like the word, but I'm sure you can figure it out. They "n***** rigged it." They used gasket sealant and propped it up with some newspapers and an old briefcase that was lying in the parking lot-allowing it to set over night. They also fixed the door that the grub kept using to get back inside the building. He would unlock the inside locks of the door so that he wouldn't need a key to get in (there are two doors-one that is locked and one that has locks on the inside track of the door. It is basically always locked except when people are moving furniture etc.). They filled the lock with gasket sealant and covered it up completely. He won't be getting back into the building for a while :).

He even took Tony up to the roof so that I could get some sleep without listening to Tony's stories through the walls. I don't even know what time it was when I was woken up. It was rather late. My friend was in the bathroom, at like a bunch of idiots we had put the light bulb back in the lamp. Tony opened up the door, turned on the light and asked, "are you awake." I was like, um...yeah, let me think about that, "No!" He said, "you need to look at this...what does this look like to you?" In my line of work, whenever someone asks me to look at something I politely decline. I opened up my eyes and he was holding something like 2 inches from my face. Once again he said, "what does it look like to you?" It was a dish towel with cookies on it...so that is what I told him. He said, "No...it looks like a teddy bear bending over...ha, ha, ha." Then he stumbled back into the other room and shut off the light. Good night to you too. My friend came back out of the bathroom, yelled at Tony, took the light bulb back out of the lamp and went to bed. Ahhh...all is quiet in the building.


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