So I have been with the department now for almost 3 months now. Elections are coming up soon for the officers to shuffle their positions. So the hall has been busy with a lot of politics lately, which is not surprising - but for someone like me who is trying to learn new stuff at drills, and not stand around while the others talk politics - that is kind of irritating. That being said, I have been informed that I can request drills outside of the regular weekly drills if I want the extra time and training. All I have to do is ask an officer if they have time to come out and drill with me. Lately I have been doing a lot of driver training. Honestly, driving the truck is just like driving Studio 1010 when I used to work for CFRB in Toronto. Therefore I am completely comfortable driving it. It does not intimidate me. While yes it is heavier then Studio 1010, and it has air breaks which are completely new to me - these are things I have quickly adapted to. Heck, I have piloted a twin engine prop plane for upwards of 2 hours straight (a real plane), have driven a subway and streetcar, and operated some heavy equipment. A firetruck is really pretty easy.
Gettin' the handline ready...
Wednesday at regular drill I was shown how the pump works, and then took the truck onto the I-190 for a mile or so - got it up to about 60. Then drove around for a bit. Thursday, my Captain took me out for some more driver training. I wanted to play with the pump some more and see the deck gun in action. So I took the truck to a parking lot and proceeded to apply a LOT of water to a small park. I also wanted to get some more experience with a hand line in, so I pulled a hand line off the truck and charged it up. I then went and sat on it (being it was only me on the line) and we pushed the pressure up fairly high. I opened the nozzle all the way and tried to compete with the deck gun in a kind of gigantic version of a piss sword fight... LOL
Not quite sure how much pressure I was handling right there, but the nozzle was fully opened and Bernie was sending me a lot of water.
Afterward we went for coffee and then returned to the station. I was told that I am quite skilled as a driver so far and that we should hurry up and work me towards my firefighter 1 classification. So that was very cool. Honestly, a lot of people tend to think being a driver is boring because you stand around by the pumper at fires. But to me, that is more interesting then going in and seeing / fighting a fire. I love working with machines or systems. I challenge myself to try to get the most out of a system as possible within normal operating boundries. So the challenge for me as a driver / pump operator is really what attracts me to that position - being able to tweak the system to get enough water out of it for a extra hand line for example would be awesome - and also a very useful talent at a fire scene. I have photos of Thursdays action, as both my Captain and my friend were there taking photos. So I should have some posted in the next few days. I think in the next few driver training drills I do, I would like to focus on accident avoidance and various other similar type stuff. I know how the truck handles normally, but what if I had to slam on the breaks at 45mph... I need to feel the truck and learn how it will respond in such circumstances. That way when I do need to stop or whatever, I know what to expect. I would like to be able to avert a scenario where a car pulls out about 100 or so feet in front of me while I am doing 45. I have an idea how we could set up that scenario with cones too in a large parking lot. I also want to test the truck on ice when things start to get cold. A nice big parking lot would be good for that as well.
Rollin' up the hose...
As far as pumping stuff I would like to learn - I want to be able to run a pumper with a monitor, deck gun, and as many hand lines as possible. I want to see how much I can squeeze out of one pumper. Of course something like that would likely have to take place on a normal drill night when enough people are around to man all those hoses.... Sadly knowing how things work, only 4 or so people would actually be on a hose at a drill... So I guess I would be limited to maybe 2 or 3 hand lines - 4 If I am lucky. Any more then that, and I wont have enough people to man them. All in all, I am enjoying the gig. It will be interesting to see how the elections are going to go. I have decided that I am only going to be voting for people who have taken the time to help me as a probie and answer my questions - or at least direct me to people who can. People who just shrug whenever I ask them something, are likely not getting my vote for anything. That being said - Apparently I am Sergeant at Arms. Sergeant at Arms is a 'social' Officer position which is basically responsible for keeping order at meetings. The position is also responsible for bringing each meeting to session. I was mainly appointed this position in jest in order for me to learn the Pledge of Allegiance (since I am Canadian). But apparently the position is mine... So gee... I wonder what they would say if I try to claim to want to be part of the 'officer' meetings now? (not that I would want to be). Anyhow, yeah, good old politics. I mainly just want to learn... I am TRYING to stay out of that political stuff, but sometimes it is very hard to keep my mouth shut when I have an opinion on something. In an unrelated note, things have been going well lately. I have made a few bucks here and there lately - mainly selling things - so things have been alright. But I still do need to find a job. Obviously something that does not interfere with the firehall at all would be excellent. Finally got the jeep into the garage, and passed my inspection. I had been putting it off for a while based on my wheel bearings, but I was told that they are apparently alright. Its my differental which is making all the noise. But apparently that is not as serious.