I recently did something that was a little out of my comfort zone…I joined the Alma Center Community Fire Department.
I’ll admit it, I did not grow up aspiring to run into a burning building or drive a huge fire truck. In fact those were some of the many reasons why I didn’t join sooner. On top of that, I don’t know if I will ever be good at it.
I don’t know much about house fires or vehicle fires or really any kind of fire. The one thing I do know is that fire is hot and sometimes can be extinguished with a fire extinguisher. Anything bigger than that I would need to call 911 right now.
I didn’t have a great teacher on the fire subject either. My dad was probably better at setting fires than putting them out while I was growing up as referenced by the pole shed and grass fires we had from time to time.
After careful contemplation I decided to just go for it and join. I eventually came to the conclusion that even though I may not be good at running into burning buildings, I might still be able to help the fire department with other things like fundraising.
A few days after getting my pager, my heart skipped a beat when my pager went off for the first time on a call.
I quickly got nervous as I was thrusted into my first traffic accident call. I got out the door as fast as I could and got to the fire station just in time before being left behind.
Suddenly we were driving away to a rollover and my mind was racing because I didn’t know anything about what I needed to do.
The first thing I was asked to do was put out some cones. I quickly realized that putting out cones was harder than one would think. First I couldn’t find the cones, which were right on the outside of the truck, and then I couldn’t manage to put them in a straight line.
I’m sure everyone driving by was wondering who in the world put these things out.
Suddenly an investigator came and asked me to turn out the headlights on the truck so people driving could see. Acting as if I knew what was going on, I went over to the truck looking for the switch to turn the lights off.
I searched and searched and couldn’t find the button. In my defense, there were at least 30 buttons on the dashboard for certain things like lights and sirens and god knows what else. Needless to say I had to slumber back to the others and ask for help.
Then I was asked if I knew how to turn on the generator, which I quietly answered no to because I didn’t even know where it was on the truck. So one of the other firefighters showed me how to start it, which I then realized the generator turned on lights on the truck so we could see on the scene.
Then the tanker came with some more firefighters. Since we had another truck there, that meant we had more cones. So I again failed miserably at putting up cones going the other direction.
After that I watched as EMS put the driver in the ambulance and helped take pictures of the accident.
Soon enough it was time to load up and head back home, which is when I began to realize how warm I was. After all I was in full-out fire department gear, so it was pretty warm underneath those coats.
Everything was a blur on this call, and I really didn’t know anything. Even so I was glad to be there, helping someone in need.
After the fire call was complete, I had a great feeling in my chest. Like I maybe helped someone, even though I really didn’t do much.
Now I’m glad I joined the fire department, and am excited about my next call and the opportunity to help someone else. Maybe I will get to do something else besides setting out cones.