Friday, December 11, 2009

a day in the life

As most of you know, when I clock in for work it is for 24 hours. I often get asked... "What do you do all day?". Well............

My shift actually starts the night before because I am thinking and mentally prepping for my 24 hour tour of duty. I try to get a good night's sleep (which is often restless with the anticipation of work and what unknowns it will bring) and get my station uniform ready.

-alarm clock goes off at 5:45 a.m.
-out the door by 6:15 am
-drive 40 minutes across town
-shift starts at 7 am
-get changed into uniform
-tag off with the person I am replacing from previous shift
-find out what calls the previous shift had and if there are any equipment deficiencies
-check over bunker gear and personal protective equipment and place on truck
-check facepiece and air bottle (don't want to find out I can't get air when I need it!)
-if in the driver's seat, check each and every piece of equipment on truck and inventory medical bag, gage fuel and water level, air brakes, run the pump etc....
-8am... radio checks with Fire Control (aka the Comm (dispatch) Centre)
-grab a much needed cup of tea and a bit of breakfast
-find out what training is required for the day (CPR, defib), ladder drills, etc...
-plan lunch and dinner with the crew (very important!)
-building inspections
-and then we wait for the calls to come.

If we have none... it's called a shut out. Which is sometimes nice but can make for a long day. We pass the time doing a bit of studying, training, cooking and station and grounds maintenance and then start to wind down for the night. Normally we can bunk down after 10pm. Sleeping on the job has come under criticism but a well-rested firefighter is a more effective one. Some of the guys can sleep like babies but I'm not one of the lucky ones... I sleep with one eye open with the anticipation of the alarm bells going off and mostly, I miss having my little ones close by.

Then we're up at 6:30 am to wash the firetrucks and shovel the tarmac if it has snowed overnight.......

Then I head home to do the mommy thing which on some days is tougher than being a firefighter. Raging children vs. raging housefire? The house fire I find less taxing that's for sure.

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