Monday, January 26, 2009

The Mailbox Massacre and The Knob

All I can say is.....thank god it wasn't me (this time).

Our usual drill night arrived, although I wasn't sure I was going to go...I'd been sick most of the day, but we got toned out about an hour before drill for an overturned bicyclist in a ravine...., and I figured if I could respond to that, I could drag my butt to drill.

The first half hour of drill was a repeat of what I like to call "The Chinese Fire Drill"---essentially, our chief sends everyone out on all three rigs, and everyone practices their driving skills. We ride around the village practicing turns and trying not to run down small children, and then meet up at a designated spot and everyone switches rigs (Hence the Chinese Fire Drill----we haven't left anyone standing on the side of the road yet, but it's only a matter of time...)

--I did my gig behind the wheel, managed not to make an ass of myself or hit anyone, and pulled over to switch out with another "newbie".....I plopped down in my exterior jump seat (WHY it doesn't have a seatbelt is beyond me, but that's coming up in my next conversation with the chief) and decided to kick back and enjoy the ride and the opportunity to zone out and not think for a little while.

We head down a street that has a cul-de-sac turnaound at the end of it....the driver makes the first part of the circle turn uneventfully...doesn't seem to be cranking the wheel hard enough.....and I sit up a little bit straighter in my seat.

Now I'm nervously eyeballing the line of six mailboxes anchored into posts on the interior of the circle---and the side of the engine seems to be cutting it pretty close......and then CRASH!!!! (scrape, grind, crumple, crumple,, crash.....) ---and the rig shudders to a halt.

The entire line of mailboxes is now half upright, half jammed up against the side of the rig.I hear one of the senior guys in the compartment say the understatement of the year....."Uh oh".

I jump down to assess the damage.....everyone else piles out and we all stand there looking at each other thinking...."how fast can we fix this before any of the homeowners figure out what's going on?" ---Mike pulls the rig forward (which now has a very nice scrape running the length of it) ---we grab the sledge out of the side compartment and the cordless screw driver.....and with two of us playing lookout for the neighbors....start hammering the posts back into the ground and screwing the boxes back onto the posts.

Then we hauled ass out of there. The mailboxes looked ALMOST the same as they did before we slaughtered them.We get back from our relaxing drive through the countryside, and Chief has decided we're going to do an outside live burn. I'm still pretty new to the SCBA, but I'm more comfortable getting it on (properly)....As we head into the back burn area of our department, Glenn yells over to me "get your pack on" ---so I gear up and get off the rig.

There's a decently sized bonfire burning merrily away (s'mores anyone?) and now all the newbies (including yours truly) are standing around it waiting for some direction. And its pretty warm......and I'm starting to perspire a little bit.....And now a bead of sweat is working its way from my forehead to the tip of my nose.......and it's starting to bug me a little bit.

I instinctively swat the nose area of my face to stop the annoying tickle....only to realize that my mask is in the way....and I can't do a damned thing about it. The mildly annoying tickle is now driving me half out of my mind......and other rolling beads of sweat have decided to join the party on my face......I might have ripped my mask off right then and there to get some relief.....but at that point the fire has burned down enough to suit the boss, and he walks over to me and says "I want you to get on the knob".I blink at him.....he looks at me waiting confirmation.....I blink again and say......"I'm want me to do what on the what???" .....He replies....."get on the knob....take the nozzle on the hose" I get it..........

I get comfortable "on the knob" (ok, I'll admit it here, I'm ALWAYS going to smirk when I hear that) and work on putting out the fire, and do a decent job of partner blew through his air tank so I passed off the hose and we went to start changing out bottles and cleaning up.

Damage report for the night......a couple of mailboxes and a newbie's pride(and a huge amount of relief on my part that I wasn't the one behind the wheel....because we all know if anyone besides that kid was going to trash something with the was probably going to be me.....)But the upside...... I LOVE DOING THIS JOB!!!!

Next week? Trench Rescue!!! (this ought to be interesting...)

Stay safe, buckle up, and until next time...


Anonymous said...

Like the site, did you ever get a chance to look at mine? Any classes you think would be helpful to your people?

Tom Basher
Meridian Fire Training Solutions

Mel said...

Hey Tom,
Sorry, I misplaced your card, but yes, I did check out your site.

I had some questions for you, can you contact me when you have a moment?