Things have been interesting the past few months. I can't say I'm happy with everything, but I am surviving.
The calls at work have ranged from average, to news-worthy. I've been running everything from the daily BS, to large fires, to shootings, to officer-involved incidents. Nothing is sacred. Not for the fine folks that call 911 for non-emergent reasons.
I'm still enjoying my station assignment. With the exception of the one person I've posted about already (see my post about losing respect) I really enjoy the company of my guys. We mesh very well, we work together very well. We just happen to have a leader that doesn't listen to us.
There are so many calls I want to share but fear losing my anonymity or my cool. Mom always said to keep my mouth shut if I didn't have anything nice to say. Lately, I have to stand by that bit of advice more and more.
Have I mentioned that I hate having to censor myself?
Nevertheless, I'm alive, I'm doing ok, and I'm still reading other blogs occasionally.
As usual, I've been neglecting this blog. I've been neglecting talking about work in general to be honest.
There have been more changes in my department, and in my own station. Most have been for the better.
We now have a cohort of mine from the academy, and I'm seriously pleased with this turn of events in every way but 1. He has a little seniority on me and I've been rolled a small step back down the seniority ladder in-house. I'm still driving almost every shift, just not always on my first rig of choice.
We've run some very interesting calls that I'm afraid writing about will give away who I am/where I work/etc. These calls weren't exactly newsworthy, but they were the talk around the houses.
Most of my ambulance shifts I'm paired with a medic that prefers to tech all the calls, so I don't have much I can report on there either.
Trust is a strange beast. It can be earned over time, demanded in extreme moments, and it's hard to build. And yet trust is fragile.
The job of a firefighter, EMT, or Medic comes with a heavy dose of trust. You have to trust the guys around you to not only know what the right thing to do is, but to actually do it. It doesn't matter if you're pulling a line into a raging house fire or guiding the guys carrying the stairchair. You have to trust them to be there and not lead you astray.
Trust can be shattered easily, and like a precious piece of china, it's never quite the same once it's been broken.
By design or necessity, we have to trust our leaders, have faith in them, respect the rank (if not the person as well).
Recently, my leader shattered my trust completely. It was a simple act, so simple it seems quite stupid. I'd fueled the truck and he was helping me get turned around. It was dusk and he was using what I call "flapping fingers" instead of a proper hand signal. I made it known that I couldn't see his signals clearly.
In front of the station, he used the same flapping fingers gesture and backed me into a curb before blaming me in front of the whole crew. The trust was shattered right then and there.
I've been on the fence about this captain since he was moved here. He's recently promoted and has done so many things in his short time here that I truly question many of his actions daily. It's as if he can't draw the line between leader and friend. We have too many rookies here to have another friend. We need him to be a leader, a strong leader who can lead by example. We don't need another buddy who never removes his bluetooth and doesn't even notice when the tailboard man has wandered off.
Then again, what do I know? I should have just stopped the truck until he could use the proper signals. Next time, I will. Until then, I'll be damned if I'm going to buy curb cream for hitting a curb I couldn't see while my backer wasn't using the proper signals and never motioned for me to stop.
It will take a long time for me to ever trust him on a personal level again. The first building block of that trust would be owning up to the improper hand signals or apologizing for a callout in front of the whole crew. Captain or not, I'm not holding my breath for either of those.
Yes, it may seem petty to some. I'm still a girl, I'm supposed to be complicated to figure out. Welcome to the mind and thought process of Firelady.
Life has been nothing short of crazy the last few months.
Home life has been hectic. I've gone through some changes that were years overdue. As much as I wanted some of these changes, I wasn't truely ready for them. I'm embracing them all the same and making the best of my situation.
Things are looking up, overall. I still have my house and my pets, there's still food in the kitchen, and my level of happiness is finally on the rise now that my stress is levelling out/going down.
I've started a new business endeavor. It's something I can do on my days off and at a somewhat leisurely pace. It's enough to help cover my expenses and put a little play money in my pocket as well.
Work has been a challenge mentally. Not because of the calls, but because of a couple of conversations I've had. It's given me a lot to think about and I hope the other persons involved have been trying to reassess their actions and motives in the past as well. I'm not happy with the way things were handled or said, but I've also spoken my piece, it's time I to try to heal and get over it. No, I'm not in any kind of trouble, no worries.
Our call volume has been crazy. Things always get busier in the summer, but not quite like this. We've been getting our teeth kicked in every shift it seems. There's no easy solution the department will accept. There's not even a tough decision they'll take. We just take our beatings and eat, potty, or sleep at every opportunity.
I suppose that's it for now, I haven't had the muse for a "normal" post for quite some time now. I'm still around though, I won't be shutting this blog down. I'm hopeful the break will do me some good, actually.
Every firefighter gets ribbed about having to pull a cat out of a tree. It's like cops and donuts. It doesn't matter if it never happens, you will always be teased about it by friends.
We learn in the academy about how to carry ladders, raise ladders, set a proper climbing angle, have 3 rungs over the edge, etc.
We pulled 14' roof ladders off wall hooks and set them up many times. We carried various sizes of ladders all over the property, some that require 6 guys to carry. In the field, you learn to navigate houses with attic ladders. without making too big of a mess hopefully.
I never really imagined I'd have to pull a guy off of a house. Well, not when he had a ladder in place and buddies on the ground to heel the ladder.
A group of guys come to clean/pressure wash the gutters. Their ladder reached a whopping 4 inches above the eave. The guy stuck on the roof felt like he was sliding and was too scared to try for the ladder.
We asked radio for an aerial to be en route, then grabbed the roof ladder and tried to see what we could do. We managed to get the roof ladder set, and I'm still surprised the guy didn't kiss the ground when he made it down.
The aerial was cancelled and we left.
Lessons they should have learned: Tall houses need tall ladders If you can't see the top of the ladder from the roof, you shouldn't have gotten off the ladder in the first place. Nice, new, wooden patios are pretty...and get very slippery when water and gutter junk are added. Slippery patios means someone needs to make sure the ladder doesn't slide. If you think you're sliding off the roof, straddle the ridge. Especially if it's level. Yes, they make female firefighters (they even let me drive the big red trucks). I saw that funny glance.
Many times on a call, the patient or a family member does something to engrain themselves into our memories for some time. Lately, this has been happening more often.
Frequent fliers can be some of the best for this since you see them so often and become familiar. Knowing their address when dispatch calls it out, knowing what medical problems they actually have versus what they tell you. This can be especially fun if the patient is a known seeker.
Sadly, there's just no way to write out what was said and be able to properly convey the way it was said. It's just nowhere near as funny without the proper pronounciation, emphasis, and accent.
No, I don't mean seniors. I mean really old folks, in their 90's and up.
Old people calls generally fall into a couple of categories. ~Just want someone to talk to ~Are actually sick ~Family called
We had the pleasure of meeting a much older gentleman who's daughter thought he was having a stroke. Fortunately, there was nothing going on medically that was out of the norm for this gentleman. The whole call had us giggling while talking to the gentleman, his daughter shared our humor as well.
EMT: Sir, how many fingers am I holding up?
Old Guy: Yep
EMT: (Louder) How many fingers?
Daughter: His cataracts are pretty bad.
EMT: So would he normally see how many?
Everything we asked him, we got a "Yep" in response. Everyone was giggling, even the old man at some point.
These are the old folks I love the most. They may not have a damn clue what's going on, but they manage to make you smile. They don't want anything, they just aren't ready to give up living just yet.
On the job for a few years now, this is just my ramblings about the stupidity and humor that find their way into my life.
Oh, and of course this blog contains my personal opinions and perspective on things, which may not be shared with my place of employment.
Email me at GA_Firelady AT yahoo DOT com