An on-going report of a volunteer fire fighter’s training in British Columbia, Canada
Tonight my husband is too tired from work to go to fire practice, so I’m going alone for the first time.
I’m the first one to arrive (again) and I wait for the others to show up. I’m trying to quell the butterflies in my stomach, but others are arriving, so it’s time to go to work.
We start to pull out the equipment, and the phone rings. It is our Chief, telling us he will be late and since my hubby isn’t there ( he’s 2nd Capt.), we have to wait for the 3rd Capt. to arrive before starting. The 3rd. Capt. arrives, and we head out to a part of our district that we rarely visit. I’m on the back of Engine 42 with another lady and we all head out (lights and sirens as we pass my house) and I watch as all the traffic pulls over for us. I have never been witness to such a feeling of power before, seeing people pull over when they see you coming, such a rush!!!!!!!! We don’t use the sirens during practices, but we do go out with lights, but even these are enough to make vehicles pull over.
We pull up to the site and start to stage the equipment. I start to un-hook the cover of the inch and a half off the engine, and then wait for instructions. I’m told to follow the inch and a half to the horse pasture up the road and be back-up. (Ok, for those of you that read Part two, remember what that means). I’m a great back-up, but there isn’t much to do, since everyone else is learning to use the pumps and siphon equipment.
The lady on the nozzle and I start a conversation about our training, (she has been here since Christmas) and our views as to what we think we need to learn, and other various things about the department. We are hosing this field quite awhile, when we notice that the ground has reached it’s saturation point and the water that we are putting into the field is coming out just as fast as we are putting it in. Ok, mental picture time. We are standing on a short ledge of ground on the outside of the fence and the next thing between us and the road is a large ditch. The ground is getting very muddy and we can’t move anywhere because of the power lines behind us and to our right. Two of our guys hooked up the two and a half inch hose to the engine, so pressure is going up and down, but everything is fine, (so far).
We are adjusting our stance and the other lady steps back and the bank below her foot gives way. The hose is on full stream, and as she goes down, the full force of water hits the top railing of the fence, the hose is forced back at a GREAT jerk and hits me in the shoulder. If anyone has been kicked by a horse, you know what I’m talking about when I say…OUCH! Man, I’ve never been hit so hard by anything in my life! I was able to grab the hose so she could turn it off, and then I picked her up out of the mud. I made sure she was ok, and then we re-positioned ourselves, this time with me on the nozzle. I didn’t tell anyone till later that I was hit because I really didn’t feel it. My husband said later that it was because of the adrenaline and to be very careful because firefighters can get seriously injured because they don’t feel their injuries until much later.
After our turn at the hose, we were sent down to watch the siphon pump of the Mini Pumper in action. It was very loud, but not too exciting. Having to watch the gauges like a hawk is the driver’s job, but I won’t get to do that for quite awhile (I have to learn to drive a Standard first). We shut everything down soon after that and I got to roll my first hose. We all climbed back aboard the equipment and headed back to the hall.
The story of our mishap is soon circulating through the hall, and everyone has to inspect my shoulder. It will be a big bruise, but we don’t have any ice packs there, so we all head home.
“Another badge?”, my husband asks, “Yes”, I tell him, “but this one hurts a little more than the other ones did”. I get the ‘oos’ and ‘ahhs’ from my daughters and head off to find some ice.