Back to the grind stone and another "Trick of the Trade"

Well, 4 day is over and it’s back to the ol grind stone at Lucky #13. This last break BLEW by and I mean that literally. The winds have been between 40-50 mph this week! I’ve already lost one barn to the winds this winter and I’m shocked I didn’t loose another.

The Buckaroo and I have managed to keep ourselves busy around the farm. Cattle prices are high so we cut out a load of calves and went to market.

We’ve also been “on the hunt”. I guess it’s due to the “new moon” but the coyotes have been running thick! This is also our calving season and as you can imagine, coyotes and new born calves don’t mix. I keep a riffle in the truck and tractor but when I know the chance of killing is high, I also strap on my pistol.

Of course that means the Buckaroo has to carry his pistol as well ….

You can’t see it well in the picture above (his cammo jacket is doing its job..LOL) but trust me …. the little fella is packing heat.

I think I’m gonna need to find yet another job to keep the little guy in caps… LOL

The good news is that despite the high winds, the temperatures have been above normal. That makes it a little easier for me and the Buckaroo to do some outside work. I’m pretty proud to say that so far, the little guy would rather be outside working or playing with me rather than sitting inside and watching TV or something. He just may turn out ok…LOL.

Since I’m on the gun subject, don’t forget to buy a ticket for the  ROANOKE RAMPAGE    gun raffle.  I talk about our team on here often but in case you’ve missed it, we are a group of Fire, Rescue and Police members who play semi-pro, full contact football for charity in the  National Public Safety Football LeagueOur charity is fighting (CTCL) Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma in the name of a fallen Battalion Chief from Roanoke, Billy Obenchain   Steps4Billy.

In order to raise funds, we are holding a   GUN RAFFLE. Tickets are only  $10 each! You must be 21 yrs old to enter and the winner will be drawn during half time at our 2nd home game vs. The South Carolina Commanders on April 2, 2011. We NEED to sell these tickets!

We will be raffling off 3 guns….  1st Prize is a BUSHMASTER MOE M4 223,   2nd Prize will be a GLOCK 19 9mm. and the 3rd Prize will be a WALTHER P22 LR!

Use the “CONTACT” link at the top of this site to get my e-mail. Drop me a note if you’d like to buy a ticket and we’ll work out the arrangements.

I also want to remind you to make plan to be in Baltimore, Md for  EMS TODAY   March 1st-5th.

Don’t just plan to attend the conference, be sure to attend the  “Meet Up” ( JEMS Connect) on Thursday, March 3rd from 8-11pm.

Rhett Fleitz (Fire Critic) and I will both be in attendance as well as many other of your favorite bloggers … here’s an excerpt ..

Connect with hundreds of EMS professionals at the Meetup, Thursday night during EMS Today

Stop by Uno Chicago Grill at Harborplace in the Inner Harbor from 8pm-11pm. Enjoy beer, wine, soda, appetizers and tons of connections. Plus, meet your favorite Fire & EMS bloggers from the community, contributors from JEMS, our Facebook Fans and more!

Pick up your invitation to the event at one of these booths in the exhibit hall on Thursday, March 3rd (5:00-7:30pm)

Ok … moving on. At the request of one of my readers, I started posting a little segment I call  “TRICKS OF THE TRADE”.  You can catch my first  “installment”    HERE.  I mentioned that I would try to make it kind of a “regular” posting or at least try to hit it once a week. That said, tonight; I bring you the 2nd installment.

Tonight, I want to talk about  AIR PACKS or SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus). I’m not going to give an air pack class nor will I go into details of how they work. I want to briefly talk about wearing them … well wearing them correctly.

One thing that sets good firemen apart from bad (in our minds anyway) is being able to last. I’m not talking about how long you can go on a 30 minute bottle … I’m talking about how long and hard you work on the scene.

You see so many young or probie firefighters these days out in the yard giving high fives, smacks on the ass and telling stories of how they were in there “doing it”. All smiles … proud … air packs on the ground with the bottle empty.

What they don’t realize is that the real firemen are still inside working. Overhauling, mopping up etc. Us older Jakes last longer for a couple reasons but the easiest is because we wear our pack correctly. How many times do you see the “old guys” on a 2nd bottle while the younger members are sprawled in the yard? We may be tired but it’s NOT because our gear put added strain, stress etc on us (I talked about proper fitting PPE in the 1st installment). How you wear you SCBA makes all the difference.

Here in “The Noke”, we use  Scott air packs. More specificly, Scott AP50, 2002 edition. (picture above right)

Now, I know how cool it looks when you see a crusty old Jake walking around with the waist belt unbuckled. It’s the “Tommy Gavin” or FDNY look.

Notice, in this pic; my waist strap in unbuckled. Looks cool but puts undue stress on our bodies and increases fatigue. It makes you work harder. Work  SMART…. not hard!

The Scott AP50 is designed to ride on our hips. Scott paid people good money to study, design and build em this way. When worn correctly, all the weight of the pack rides on your hips… NOT your shoulders. The key (or “trick”) is to fasten the belt!

In my department, I think I know why some members don’t fasten the strap. We transitioned to Scott from MSA several years ago. Back then, we wore the MSA Ultralite II. Those packs were designed to ride on our shoulder. The regulator was on the waist belt but it didn’t need to be fastened or worn tightly. Maybe the reason is simply out of old habits?  I don’t know

What I do know is that when worn correctly, the Scott air pack is an asset and not a burdon.

It offers great mobility and allows me to work without getting tired too quickly. 

Now, don’t just buckle it … wear it right. Just like you used to see us tugging on our shoulder straps with the MSA pack, the waist belt needs to be tight on the Scott.

The tighter, the better. Also notice (in the pic to the right) the belts location. High on my hips … across the  Iliac Crest  (thats medic talk for  “hip bone” ..LOL)

For those of you not using Scott, know your equipment. Each pack is designed to be worn a certain way in order to cause less stress, exertion and fatigue to the firefighter.

When you younger members see an older guy walking around with the straps swinging… don’t imitate it. Wear yours right and odds are you’ll have enough gas left in your tank to be in there beside that old Jake pulling a little ceiling.

I know that was simple … but trust me. I hope it helps.

I got a few reports to finish up and then gonna try to catch a little shut eye. I’m not sure who wore who out the most over 4 day break … me the Buckaroo or him wearing me out. I just hope I get the chance to and can sleep as sound as he does … LOL

We’re back on Friday and Sunday but I’ll try to check in before that.

Until the next time …Stay safe and in house.

Captain Wines