I got back from fire department training not too long ago. Training on how to get out of a burning building is one of the most grueling trainings I have had to go through.
The meeting lasted almost an hour, we closed out the year and talked about some changes for the new year.
After meetings, we usually have training. Dad helped set up for it tonight. I didn't get to see any of it, but I had SOME preparation for what was coming...though nothing could prepare me for it.
They brought us our fire gear because the obstacle course was set up where our fire gear is kept. We all put on about 50 pounds of turnout gear (aka the pants, the boots, the helmet, the flash hood, the gloves...etc) and added another 40 pounds worth of air pack. I got my air pack turned on and was all set...or so I thought. They had us pull off our flash hoods and put them on BACKWARDS, in all effects blindfolding us. This prepares us for smoky buildings.
We were given several guidelines right off the bat: Communicate with your partner, do NOT let the hose go (it leads you to your way out), and breathe slowly and keep calm.
They led us, blindfolded, out into the main part of the station. We followed the hose and dodged around things for what felt like forever...but was really only about 20 minutes. I really had no idea what I was up against, but I did recognize "Mr. Rigor Mortis", aka the fire department dummy.
When I looked back at the course afterwards, I found that I had crawled under a fire truck, through two cubby holes (one involved pulling off the pack and sliding it in front of me), under a table, around a fire hose, over a fan, past the other team, and through some tangles in the hose we were following, all while keeping in touch with my partner, keeping an eye on my air supply and regulating my breathing accordingly, and listening to the comments of the other firefighters who were watching
It'* been a long time since I've felt this...accomplished. And I got to hear my dad (the assistant chief) say "I'm proud of you, you did good!" with a big smile on his face
For those of you who know anything about medical stuff and fire departments, you know I cannot talk about my calls due to confidentiality, so I chose to share a training story with you...and once again, if you guys are able, interested, NOT CLAUSTROPHOBIC
, and can spare the time, I highly recommend joining a volunteer fire department. It'* a great use of my free time, and it makes me feel really good about myself.