01 May 2006

Fire fire fire

I got off at the ambulance company at 0800. No sleep all night-definitely not ready for 10 more hours at work. Oh well. I can't change it now. It's kind of wierd, but I'm almost happy to be going to work. I don't know if it is because my life is unbelievably stressful right now or what, but it seems that whenever I am off, I wish I was at work. I always think that when I'm not there they will get a good call, and of course, I don't want to miss it. It is kind of disturbing. I shouldn't want to be at work so much. Whatever.

I got to the fire house around 0820. I changed uniforms, made myself somewhat presentable and started in on my normal routine. Ambulance and engine checks first. Then I cleaned the living quarters. It's always the same; I wipe down the counters in the kitchen, clean the coffee pot and do the dishes. Then I put the stools up on the counter so I can sweep the floor in there, then the three bathrooms. Then I wash the mirrors and toilets, and emty all the indoor garbages. Then I sweep the hallways. Then I vacuum the day room, bunks, offices, and rugs. I mop after that so that I don't go over my clean floors with the vacuum. I do the kitchen, bathrooms, and gradually work my way out to the bay. Usually by the time I am done with all that (if I don't have any calls) it is about 1130. Just in time to order lunch.
Today we actually got to eat lunch without being interrupted-well almost. I was just finishing when the tones dropped. There were so many different radios and pagers going off (because we were all sitting together) that nobody could actually hear anything. I headed out to the bay to hear it better. "...fire department, you have an odor investigation...possible smoke showing."
I didn't think I would get to go, because for quite a while I have been told to hang back so that we have a medic in case we get a rescue call. My captain looked at me and said, "you're going." I was shocked, but very excited. Anthing to get out of the station, and possibly get a fire. I got my gear on and got on the engine. We headed towards the address. Dispatch came back over the radio and gave us an updated report; "...heavy smoke showing...confirmed structure fire in a detached garage." They toned out again for a quad, which brings in engines from four other departments. We pulled up and there wasn't too much smoke, but the garage was white, and you could see soot all over the front and smoke coming out of the eaves and the garage door. Since I am so new, I was told to do exterior. So, I pulled the preconnect and dragged it to the garage door. I flaked it out so that it didn't resemble spaghetti, and headed back to the engine to help the engineer. He already had the soft suction out, so I tagged the hydrant, hooked up the valve on one side, the soft suction on the other. The hydrant was really tight-whether it was just rusty or what I don't know. I felt like such a weakling-I was struggling to open the hydrant. I looked like I should have been on an episode of the three stooges. It was too tight to get it open without using all my body weight, so I was actually going around the hydrant with the wrench, around and around until it wouldn't go any further. Water was still leaking out of the bottom of the hydrant, which means the valve isn't completely open, but the engineer couldn't get it any farther either. Ha. Either way, I was excited to finally do something.
The interior crew knocked the fire down pretty quick. They let me come inside to see what was going on and to cool off some of the stuff in the garage that was still smoking. Good times. We had to wait for an investigator, so once it was cooled down I helped drag hose back to the engine and then got up on top to reload it. We were probably there for about an hour or so. A good use of the afternoon.
I felt sick for the rest of the day. Of course, as usual, we gorged out at lunch-on Chinese. I was stuffed, didn't get my 20 minute nap, and felt like the food was permanently lodged in my throat. I still felt sick by the time I got home. Note to self-eat sparingly while on shift unless I want to vomit on a crew member or a patient :).
After cleaning up the engine, I returned to my normal schedule. I washed both ambulances and the engine we used on the fire. Normally I was both engines, but I was cut short by about an hour, and it wasn't too dirty. Anyways, I did that, then pulled the cots out of both ambulances, disinfected everything, including up front, bleached the floors, let them dry, and reloaded them.
Then I did some training-working on ropes and knots with my partner. We were just putting everything away (it was about 1645) and the tones dropped-15 minutes before my off time. We were called for shortness of breath. The best part-I actually knew where we were going without looking at a map, and it wasn't a main road. It's getting better. We got back to the station around 1730, I did my report on firehouse and headed home by 1800.


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