Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Here I Am

Ok, so I'm getting started with a blog now.

My name is Ken. I'm an Engineer on a truck company in suburban Kansas City. My FD has five companies, one being the truck, the other four are pumpers. We also run three ambulances, one with the truck company and one each with two other pumper companies. Our shift minimum is 25, including the shift chief and fire inspector.

I'm no hero, I do nothing super amazing. I am just an ordinary fireman. I am also a paramedic, and I rotate onto our ambulances. My FD runs about 6500 +/- calls a year, mostly medical, as one would assume. We get our share of fires, and despite our suburban status, we are seeing more and more of the types of calls that would be considered "city" calls. Oh well, job security, right?

My interests in EMS are purely professional. I know we're gonna get sent on those calls anyway, and I got tired of feeling helpless when confronted with a serious patient, and I wasn't allowed by my EMT license to do the stuff that needed to be done. So, I went to medic school. I've been a medic for ten years now, and I feel confident about responding to any medical call. Not God-like, just confident, meaning, I no longer shit my pants cuz I caught a run.

My real professional passion, however, is firefighting. I'm a third generation fireman. I started in 1988 as a Junior FF on a small volunteer FD in Camdenton, MO. I worked for two years at St. Joseph, MO FD and have been at CJC Fire for 14 yrs. Thats 23 years, more than half my life.

Personally, I prefer what is considered to be "truck work", which is everything that goes on to support the hose work that the engine companies do. Forcible entry, search and rescue, venitlation, overhaul, etc. My favorite tools are the 6' hook, 30" Halligan bar, and the 8# flat-head axe.

Firefighting changes from generation to generation. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It has to, especially given the trends in construction, constructing buildings with lighter weight materials that use math instead of mass to support loads. Fine and dandy, until there is a fire in the building. I'm not at all advocating to not go in. What I am advocating is FDs need to train, train, & train, then train more. Train on construction. Tactics. Basic firefighting skills - forcing entry, ventilation, V.E.S., opening up walls and ceilings quickly, and hitting the fire with maximum punch.

I'm not a huge fan of the 2.5" attack line. If it were me, I'd have all my attack lines using smooth bore tips. My ideal pumper (wait, I thought you said you like truck work over engine work? Yes, I do, but that doesn't mean I don't know anything about engine work) would have a large pump - 2000 GPM - and three 1.75" attack preconnects; with three more 2" attack preconnects; a pre-piped deck gun; a tailboard mounted portable gun with a 500 GPM rating, preconnected to a dead-bed of two- to five hundred feet of 3" hose, and a large capacity hosebed of five inch supply hose. More on that in another blog.

Another passion of mine is teaching firefighters fireground survival skills. I have tought several Rapid Intervention classes, and I have found that about half of those courses are survival skills teaching. How to breach a wall and get to the next room (or the outside) when the shit hits the fan. One of my favorite things to do is set up a maze for the class to go through, and then when they've all gone through it, have them change it up and have me go through it. One thing it does is build confidence with the students, and it keeps my skills sharp, because - let me tell ya - they are EVIL!!!

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. If you have any comments or questions, please contact me.

Stay safe!