Friday, March 7, 2008

Street Cred'

I guess everyone here knows I'm a fireman right? I have to tell you though, I'm an engine bubba, also known as a hose monkey. Right down to my toes.

To the world, there are just firemen (which includes women, it's just a name). But within the fire service, there are engine guys, and truck guys. Around my part of the world they are called Engine Bubba's, and Truckies. I'm sure other parts of the US, and the world have other names for them, which I would love to hear.

Now, the Engine Bubba's are the guys who pull the hose into the fire, and squirt the water to put the fire out.

The Truckies are the guys that force open the doors, cut holes in the roof (to let the smoke and heat out), search, and generally get in the way of the guys trying to put out the fire in the first place.

Do you know why Truckies force open doors and cut holes in the roof? So they can see what the real firemen are doing.

Truckies really believe that what they do is important, that it's really necessary to find ways to let the smoke and heat out and to remove stuff from the structure before it burns.

Engine Bubba's know that if they would get out of the way, and maybe help pull a little hose, we could put the fire out and then all that smoke and heat wouldn't need to be let out. You see, if you put the fire out, most all of those problems that Truckies "solve" would go away too.

And the hardest part of all this is that for some reason, Truckies think they are the only "real" firemen. Some of them are downright arrogant, albeit misled.

And, at least in our department, both engine and truck crews operate the rescue tools (jaws of life).

I told you all that, so I could tell you this:

I had the good fortune to work at a station with both a truck and an engine company. I was always on the engine, either as a driver, or as acting officer. The regular station officer was a die hard truckie. He taught classes on truck work off duty. His second biggest "thing" was rescue tools. He had us all practice with them in ways you would be surprised at. In fact, we often had "rescue races" with the tools, with events like using the cutters to grab and hold a styrofoam cup of water and move it to a shelf. Or, we would use the spreaders to pick up an egg and move it to another ledge. I was never as good as he was, but I got pretty good. Of course we cut up cars and all manner of things too. We did it all, roll the roof, jack the dash, lift the firewall. In fact we had one race in which two teams cut everything away from around the passenger seat of two cars and left them sitting in the middle of the training ground as if placed there to have a seat and rest.

And then I made officer....

to be continued

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