I cannot believe how much I have missed posting but in my quest and journey towards being a fire captain I have had to make some tough choices on how to manage my time. In addition to life as a mom, and a full time firefighter, I have had to study 3 to 8 hours a day. Weekends I might catch an hour here or there when the kids are down for a nap. I study standing in line at the grocery store, run through the command functions in my head at the gym, and wake up muttering initial fire reports. I don't get to banter as much with the guys at work anymore because my head is buried in books, books, books. They make fun of me of course, but they understand. And they have been so supportive in helping me out anyway they can. I cannot believe how intense the past 6 months have been and how few meltdowns I have actually had considering the pace I have been running. Since mid- October, I have managed to cram over three thousand pages of information between my ears. In less than two weeks I write my exam and in three I do the fire simulator in front of a panel of district chiefs. I've decided that the way I am going to keep myself calm is to picture them in black socks and underwear. My District Chief laughs at me when I tell him how crazy it has gotten, how I can remember the most minute of details buried in a policy or bylaw. He relates. He feels my pain. He's been there. It is a right of passage. Out of the 90 candidates that originally chose to participate in the promotional process, 70 remain. Some have dropped out because of the pressure, some because of time constraints, and others because they realize that it's not a position they want. It's a position that I want though. But with only 10 positions open at this time, the competition is going to be fierce. Surprisingly I feel pretty calm about it all. I have studied all that I can study, and have given it all that I can. I am fortunate that my husband has been so supportive, along with my fire crew. My Captain lets me ride in his position and take all the calls as Incident Commander so that I can take what I've learned in theory and solidify it in my body as I do it for real. If I thought firefighting on the physical level was tough, firefighting as a Captain, is so much harder. There is more pressure, more work on the cerebral level, being the eyes and ears at a call, and completely responsible for the health and safety for each and every person at that incident who has put their trust in you to make the right call.
Promotion or no promotion, it's been a win win situation. The worst that happens is that I am exactly where I am... with a crew that I love and respect. But really, I am not exactly where I am, I am so much more enriched than before I started this process. I cannot tell you how happy I have been the past six months preparing for this exam. My confidence as a firefighter has grown as well as my respect and appreciation for those who surround me. I never understood until now how finely tuned and orchestrated an emergency scene is. It's not a bunch of guys running around with axes and hoses. There is a method and procedure that is like a dance. And to me, the power of a fire scene will always remain pure magic.
Wish me luck! xo I will keep you posted on how it goes.