Firefighting, unlike my previous thrill seeking adventures, is the perfect image of power, stamina, strength, agility, quick thinking and acting, and most of all the ultimate sense of fearlessness. I walked into this adventure knowing that I was walking into someone’s life and job. I wasn’t joining a sports team, participating in a hobby, or going on a search for a crazy mystery or creature. This was going to be difficult. Stepping into this role I wanted to make sure that I showed these firefighters the utmost respect for the job that they do everyday.
Coming from a family where my dad was a firefighter and a trailing lieutenant, I knew a tad bit of what I was getting myself into. I also knew what physical training looked like and lets just say after coming off of a chest cold I was not looking forward to climbing the tower.
Yep, I was right it was terrible. My gosh, those turnouts are so stinkin’ heavy and little did I know that one of the hardest tasks was going to be pulling that hose. Man the killer was going from one event, such as pulling a heavy sled, pulling ladder, pulling hose, or packing weight; to running the tower, then back to another event, then back to running the tower. That was brutal! I was literally soaked from sweat after PT. These guys are in such good shape.
Well that was just the beginning. I quickly learned how to hook up hose, climb ladders, hang from ladders, unwind and spread hose, and drive the tiller and engine. Well it’s me and I was ready to be thrown into action!!! I got my wish. My first challenge was putting out a car fire. Umm LOVED IT! I think there is a little bit of a pyro in every firefighter and I think that love was naturally passed down through my dad to me. Next step put out a house fire. Seriously that was awesome! What a rush to have the fire so close to you, the smoke filling the room, you can’t see anything, and on top of that you have the feeling of knowing that it’s up to you to get that fire out.
My day of training has led me up to this final task, going into a smoked filled building and finding the firefighter down. Some may think, oh that could be fun, its like playing sardines or hide and seek when you are little. Well that is quite wrong. You’re not only wearing the weight of you turnouts, but you have the SCBA on your back and your trying to not get freaked out from the claustrophobic feeling of having the breathing apparatus on you to begin with. Then you are running up the stairs with a heavy hose only to find yourself in a room filled with smoke. You’re hearing the eerie sound of the alarm on the SCBA going off from the man down but you have no idea in which direction it is coming from. Then on top of that the most overpowering sound is coming from the radio you are using to communicate with dispatch. I was on my hands and knees and used the wall to find my way through the second story and keep calling out to the firefighter, trying to listen to where the alarm was coming from. After what seemed like forever but in reality was only a little time, I found the man down and was able to get the debris off, help him up, and get him out of the danger before he lost air.
I’m drenched again with sweat, my goodness this job is ridiculously tough and let me tell you about adrenaline rush. I know that I wasn’t in danger when I was going in the fire because it was a training simulation, but I just cant imagine the intense feeling of being in a real situation when you are fighting both for your life and for the life of the person you are going in to save. What an incredible experience this was. This is the ultimate adrenaline job. These men and women are amazing. Like I said I have such respect for firefighters, but after going through two days of training with them, my respect for them is even greater. The most amazing thing to me is when everyone is running out and away from danger; firefighters are running in and towards the danger. Honestly, the only word that fully depicts what a firefighter is; is the word HERO!!
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