Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I Wish

 I wish you could comprehend a wife's horror at 3 in the morning as I check her husband of 40 years for a pulse and find none. I start CPR anyway, hoping to bring him back, knowing intuitively it is too late. But wanting his wife and family to know everything possible was done to save his life. 

I wish you could read my mind as I respond to a to an EMS call, "What is wrong with the patient? Is it minor or life-threatening? Is the caller really in distress or is he waiting for us with a gun?" 

I wish you could be in the emergency room as a doctor pronounces dead the beautiful five-year old girl that I have been trying to save during the past 25 minutes. Who will never go on her first date or say the words, "I love you Mommy" again. 

I wish you could know the frustration I feel in my cruisers or the cab of the ambulance, with my foot pressing down hard on the pedal, my siren and air blasting again and again, as you fail to yield the right of-way at an intersection or in traffic. BUT when you need us however, your first comment upon our arrival will be, "It took you forever to get here!" or "What took you so long?" 

I wish you could know my thoughts as I help extricate a girl of teenage years from the remains of her automobile. What if this was my sister or my friend? What are their parents reaction going to be when they opened the door to find a police officer with hat in hand?" 

I wish you could know how it feels to walk in the back door and greet my parents and family, not having the heart to tell them that I nearly did not come back from the last call. 

I wish you could know how it feels dispatching police officers, fireman and EMT's out and when we call for them and our heart drops because no one answers back or to here a bone chilling 911 call of a child or wife needing assistance. 

I wish you could feel the hurt as people verbally, and sometimes physically, abuse us or belittle what we do, or as they express their attitudes of "It will never happen to me." 

I wish you could realize the physical, emotional and mental drain or missed meals, lost sleep and forgone social activities, in addition to all the tragedy my eyes have seen. 

I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of helping save a life, or being able to be there in time of crisis, or creating order from total chaos. 

I wish you could understand what it feels like to have a little boy tugging at your arm and asking, "Is Mommy okay?"Not even being able to look in his eyes without tears from your own and not knowing what to say. Or to have to hold back a long time friend who watches his buddy having rescue breathing done on him as they take him away in the ambulance. You know all along he did not have his seat belt on. A sensation that I have become too familiar with. 

Unless you have lived with this kind of life, you will never truly understand or appreciate who I am, who we are, or what our job really means to us... 

I wish you could though. 
Author Unknown

Friday, September 11, 2015

Never Forget

It's been 14 years. The fire service was instantly elevated in eyes of the politicians.  A few years ago, politicians - including many of the very same ones who mourned with and praised the fire service - now vilify and blame us for all of society's problems. Apparently, for them, "Never Forget" meant votes, and nothing more.

9/11 Budweiser Commercial - AIRED ONLY ONCE:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Basket Bundle

Ok, so I may have the name wrong. Oops. It was what another FF on duty with me today called it, so that's what I am calling it for the purposes of this blog entry.

What prompted me to horse around with it? Well, we mostly use a simple flat load in the bumper trays for a trash line. It works fine, but the problem is it gets caught up. A lot. 

There has to be something better out there...

So, I started researching it. Several FDs out east use bumper lines as their primary attack line. Seems odd to me, I thought, but it works for them. Just search YouTube and you can find plenty of successful aggressive fire attacks done from front bumper lines. Again, with a strange looking load... but hey! It works for them, repeatedly, and look at them deploy it! Fast! And with one FF! Hmmm...

So, I did some looking around and found some training videos on it. The internet is such an amazing tool, isn't it?

Here's one that I think is the best one for instruction on packing and deploying it. It's about ten minutes, but it's down to earth. It was done specifically for the ACFD (which I think is the Arlington County FD in VA), but you get the point.

Ok, so after several weeks of "research", (yeah, right - when I had time and remembered to look is probably more accurate), I decided I'd try it out on my pumper's bumper line, solely as an experiment. Our tray is narrow (16 inches) and it has the discharge in the bottom of the tray on a swivel, and, honestly, I didn't know if it would work at all. 

So, here's where I started. In the spirit of the ACFD video tutorial, I was setting it up so that you would deploy it the same way. The biggest difference is where the discharge is located. 

The first fold is just above the level of the top of the bumper tray. To the left is the start of a long loop (approx 15-18 inches).

Now, out of the camera view, is the long loop. You can also see a medium loop (approx 6-8 inches) on the right side. It's only a few inches above the top of the tray. I found that having it there was handy, with it providing just a little extra hand hold when initially deploying it from the tray. Remember, our tray is narrower than the trays on the ACFD pumper, so I think this minor adaptation is acceptable. 

Note the Dutchman in the lower left. This is there to help keep the horseshoe flat as you load it.

Here is the first horseshoe. It fits nicely in a 16 inch wide tray. Note the male coupling is safely tucked away. We'll later connect it to the second horseshoe.

Start by leaving the female coupling off to the side approx 8-10 inches. When this horseshoe is finished, we then connect it to the male coupling in the first horseshoe. We also leave a long loop on the left side.

With the second horseshoe now complete, we connect it to the first section.

Now we place the donut roll in and connect the female coupling to the male coupling on the second horseshoe. When deploying, stretch to your point of attack (doorway, etc.) and then flip the donut roll downward. You have fifty feet of attack line immediately available for you to use as needed.

Here's a video of me deploying it, by myself, and in no particular hurry. 150 ft of 1.75" attack line, ready for water in about 25 seconds. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Shepherd Of The Gurneys: Rose Fertilizer, By The Numbers

Shepherd Of The Gurneys: Rose Fertilizer, By The Numbers: Despite being shelled for trying to blame the victim in the second Dallas Ebola case, the CDC minions are ceaselessly flailing to try and...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Little Fun

There's a SPAAMFAA chapter in nearby Independence, MO. Their group name is the Harry S. Truman 76 Fire Company. Every year they hold a muster called Firefest. It's small but growing, which pleases me.

Before moving to the Midwest, we lived in the Northeast, not far from New York City. There were - and still are - fire musters all over up that way. My favorite was the one held at the Kensico Dam in northern Westchester County, just north of NYC. There were also parades dedicated to fire apparatus, old and new. The Bridgewater, CT VFD held carnivals for fundraisers that opened on Friday evening with a parade that lasted several hours!

So there isn't too much of that out here. Ok, I can live with it. But, the 76rs do a good job, and like I said, Firefest grows a little bit each year. I'm pleased for that.

I took Gracie, who is 2 now. That's why I don't have many photos. As is any healthy 2 year old, she is very active and very curious. We had a lot of fun.

There was a 1928 American LaFrance drafting from a portable pond, supplying dual 3" lines to a portable monitor that was set up with a fog tip, squirting in the air, like a giant fountain that folks could walk/run through to cool off if they do chose. I don't know the actual flow, but it was decent, and what impressed me more was the engine was at idle! They don't build'm like that anymore!

They also had some kiddie play houses set up with "fire" in the windows, so young'ns could squirt the "fire". Gracie watched the other kids and then looked at me. I gave her the knob (it was a garden hose) and asked if she wanted to know how to do it right, like what we do at work? "OH YEAH!"

So... I helped her "make the stretch" to the front door and I coached her thru hitting "the fire" from there and going in. She was in, until other kids opened up and squirted us (yard breather style opposing streams...). I tried to get her to use the wall for cover and squirt them back thru the window, from the inside-out. But, I think she was too confused. Hey, she only just turned two. I'll give her a break - there's always next year! ;-)

We also rode on the 76r's 1960 Seagrave pumper. She didn't show much emotion during the rides (we rode twice) but she did when we got down - she cried and protested!

Here's a video of us on one of the rides in the back of the Seagrave engine! CLICK HERE!

Here's a quick video of the Seagrave on another fun run for a group of fans! CLICK HERE!

Monday, May 12, 2014


So, it's been a few months. I'm still here, and I hope you are, too.

Still have a bunch of stress, but I'm dealing better with it. Counseling has helped. I'm thankful for that. When I think about it, it amazes me that I let it go as far as I did before asking for help.

On May 9th, my son Billy graduated from high school! I'm VERY proud of him! Gracie and I drove down for the graduation. So did my brother and his family, my parents, and one of my aunts. It was a nice occasion for a mini-family reunion.

Traveling as a now divorced (was final in April) dad with a toddler was a challenge, but she did really well. Had to stop a few times each way, but that's ok. It's how memories are made, right? :-)

We stopped at Morgan's apartment on one of those stops. Gracie and Morgan hit it off! Unfortunately she didn't warm up to Billy that much, however, it's not uncommon for little girls to be shy around men. As her daddy, I hope she stays that way until she's in her thirties (which would put me in my seventies, so I'll duct tape my shotguns to my walker!). Hey, I can dream, right?!?

Gracie and Morgan

 Morgan and Billy, both adults now! :-)
Me and my kids :-)