I have not done anything Fire or EMS related for at least a month, and it has been a month since my last post.
I finally worked again at the fire station. It has been a long day though. I started at 0300 this morning. I made over 2,000 pounds of yogurt. When I got home at 1330 I changed into my uniform and went to the fire station. After about an hour I got a call from my relief asking if he could come late. I will get home around 2330.
It has been a slow night. We had a walk in report of unattended smoldering leaves. We responded at 1620 with E1. There was no smoke, just charred leaves in a pile. We were there, so we raked it and emptied the can into the pile. We were back in quarters by 1630. Not the most exciting fire...
I have not written for a while. My idea of my role in the fire service has evolved and I couldn't write anything about it until now.
Here is the update on where I am going next. I will be a cheese maker but not at the farm I was applying to. That farm apparently had some tough times and was not able to make a move on the job. So I applied and got a job at another farm working under a very experienced cheese maker. I will also learn how to make yogurt. I am excited about this opportunity and it means some security for my family.
I originally started this blog as a way to track my progress as a career firefighter. It does not seem that this is the direction I am going in. I have wondered if I should get rid of the blog. I am realizing however, that life is not as linear or black and white as I would like for it to be. I tend to be all or nothing about my life. So was the case with my aspirations to being a firefighter. I am beginning to learn the value of being a small town firefighter.
For a long time I did not like some of the aspects of the small town fire department. Unfortunately there are firefighters that don't take the job as seriously as I think we all should. I mean lets be honest, if you rely on volunteerism, are you going to turn someone away? On a small department you have to take what you can get. On the other hand there are a lot of good things that come from becoming a volunteer. I can be a firefighter and have time to pursue other interests at the same time. I'm sure I'll philosophize more on this in the future, but for now I'm satisfied to be a part of what I already know and to find ways of becoming as professional as I can within the framework of any organization I join.
I have decided to continue to post to this blog. I am still ADVANCING THE LINE in my own little world of fire service and as long as I keep committed to the work I can create a life within fire rescue.
I emailed the owner of the farm that I am waiting to hear back from about the cheese job. I'm sure it will elicit a response. It was a happy email about how my family and I are looking forward to potentially joining their crew. Now we wait (some more) for a reply.
Yesterday I went for a walk on the supposed frozen wetland behind my house. It is a beautiful walk up the serpentine path of ice through tall brown marsh grasses and reeds. And magically, the ice and the water beneath do what ever they like, because some areas are frozen and some are not. My EMT boots are the warmest thing I have for a winter walk and so when I fell through the ice, into the water, and under the mud, they were taken out of service. I'll clean them later but for now they are still a little wet. I am working tonight (right now actually) at the fire department. I had to wear something on my feet and sneakers are hardly appropriate, so I dug through my closet and pulled out my wild land boots. They are very good but they have not been worn in a while and are a wee bit stiff.
I'm just glad I am doing something other than waiting around for an email or a phone call. Instead I'm waiting around to take out the engine or the ambulance. Works for me.
In Mass, EMTs need to have 28 hours of con ed credits. I completed 28 hours of con ed credits by the Dec. 31 deadline. HOWEVER, the Mass OEMS (office of emergency services) did not recognize me for three of those credits. Long story short the person responsible for turing in the roster for some of the classes did not turn in three of the courses. She said she would work it out because I completed the material.
Now I'm just waiting to hear back from the state to see if I will be an EMT after April 14th, my EMT expiration. I sure hope so after completing the 28 credits, 24 hour refresher, $90 refresher fee, $150 rectification fee and two years of commitment to EMS.
Saturday night I handed in my letter to take leave from the ambulance company I work for. Since my wife works some Saturday nights and since we are changing things up I thought I'de take a break. I only work there as a volunteer every other Saturday night for a 12 hour shift. I have worked there for two years with some great people.
We had a slow night. There was only one call the whole shift and since there were three other EMT just hanging out they went out and I stayed at the garage. It might have been nice to run one more call.
Anyway I don't know when I'll see them again because if we move to the farm the leave of absence will probably just turn into a resignation because of the distance. I seem to be saying this a lot lately but, we'll see what happens.
Well, it has been a week since my interview at the farm. The owner has asked me to submit my resumé and some references so yesterday that is what I did. I told one of the guys at the fire department the last shift I worked and he seemed like he thought it was a cool idea. I still have to decide if I'll stay on per diem.
Meanwhile I'm still getting as much work with the fire department as I can. I have several shifts this month which is nice. It is the first time I've really felt comfortable working in EMS. I am doing better call ins and I'm not hesitating as much. I hope I can still pursue the fire thing even if my involvement isn't what I thought it would be. I don't think I'll know until I can stop wondering if I get this position. I'll keep ya posted.
OK so a little background...
... Almost a year ago I was a cheese maker. I worked on a small farm in Mass and I processed milk and made cheddar cheese. I managed the milk room that I worked in. I learned a lot about the dairy industry and the science behind milk. Six months ago after my family and I moved off the farm to see what was out there I actually considered going into cheese making. I met with a local farmer about his dairy but he already had plans and did not need another cheese maker. So I started down the path that led me to become a career firefighter, another passion of mine.
Well last week I got an email from a friend who told me of a posting for a cheese maker at a beautiful small farm. They would provide us with health insurance and a farm house to live in on the property. I had an interview yesterday and it seemed like it went well, we'll see.
SO what of the firefighting?
Short answer is I don't know. I haven't been offered the job yet so maybe nothing. I could still get my medic license so nothings over till its over.
Most of the time life offers the unexpected and you have to decide what feels right. I don't want to stubbornly refuse to accept an opportunity to do something I love.
Well, I'll keep ya posted. Wish us luck as we make some more big decisions!
One of the barns at the farm where I might make cheese
I just got off the second shift at the fire department. We only had one call, but it was a good one. I mean that of course with respect to the deceased and their family. I have not had too many opportunities to do CPR and tonight I did. It went well. The patient was gray when we found him and a few minutes after starting compressions he was pink. When the medics got on board they pushed epi and atropine. The drugs and my compressions jump started his heart and he had a good pulse (a good radial pulse too). I had to help him breath but we made his cardiopulmonary system function. Anyway it felt good to feel confident in this setting. One really has to be tested before knowing one's capabilities.
Well, the Big Plan post did not turn out to go the way I had expected. I awoke at 0530 to my son's school district telling us there would be a two hour delay. I'm fine with a cancelation, but a delay just messes with routine. Anyway I didn't get home until 1020 but I still made some calls.
I called four city departments around Boston and I called Boston fire as well. I had some great conversations and most of the people I spoke with sounded interesting in meeting me if I stopped into headquarters. I think I'm narrowing it down some! Boston Fire is definitely out. They have canceled there last academy class and they may not hire until the next civil service test in two years. The guy told me this is because of budget setbacks. As a result firefighters are having to work serious overtime. They also have an age cap of thirty-two.
I'll write more on this as I narrow the options down.
So I worked the night of the fourth at my job as a one on one at a school for boys with behavioral issues. Then I finished at 2100 and went home. My fire department called and asked me to fill in for the night shift. Of course I didn't sleep the whole night. We did have an interesting head trauma. When I got home at 0715 I took my son to school and then hung out with my sister for some of the morning. By the time I got back my wife was working from home and so I hung out with my daughter until we had to pick up our son. Then of course we had a sleepover at my sister's house and I didn't go to bed until 0200 this morning... then I worked again tonight. It is now 2240 and I will be going to bed now or I'll never catch up!
Literally, when an attack crew moves toward the fire with a charged hose, they are 'advancing the line'.
In this context, I envision myself trudging toward my goal of becoming an experienced firefighter. Because it takes great effort to move a charged line (water weighs 8.35 pounds per gallon), 'advancing the line,' seemed an appropriate theme for a blog all about my efforts to move forward in life.
I am a father of two lovely children and husband to a wonderful and supportive woman. I am a firefighter. I have been a call firefighter for three years and I now work as a relief firefighter for a small town. I have been an EMT-B for two years. My family and I are growing and changing and trying to find our way in the world. I am following my passion as a firefighter/ EMT and hope to be a part of my counties efforts in effective emergency service. (Or stay involved somehow)