Severe thunder storms hit the valley yesterday evening and lightning strikes, flash flooding and working fires soon followed.
It was chaos! EVERY truck in the city was on the road. Our first run had us heading from the edge of North West to the out skirts of South West (all the way across town).
Companies were running wires down, fire alarms, flooding incidents, lightning strikes and one actual working fire! Again, EVERY company in the city was rolling on multiple incidents with several more in the Que.
We’ve got less than a handful of dispatchers and each company / incident has to be assigned a tac channel etc. Multiple communications back and forth. Each officer thinking what he has to say is more important than the next. Officers wanting to “self dispatch” themselves to incidents.. take “this” rig off that incident , add “me” to it, “I’m closer than they are” etc …. CHAOS !
Our dispatchers did one hell of a job!
These folks never get their due credit or even a simple THANK You. For what it’s worth … I appreciate it. Lucky for us, we had a good shift on yesterday. Actually, the best as far as I’m concerned. The “Fire” dispatcher has been on the job for some time now. I love to hear her on the radio. Her voice calms and reassures me. I know she is listening and paying attention. She followsand knows whats happening. Although she remains professional and has never called me by name on the radio, I think we are comfortable enough with one another that she could and neither of us would notice. Our “Tac channel” dispatcher from yesterday does a very good job as well. He hasn’t been on the job as long but I hope he sticks with it. Good dispatchers are hard to find.
One of my sisters (Sarah) used to dispatch in the City. I can remember the first “working fire” where she was the dispatcher and I was 1st due. It was back in 2000 and I was Captain of the “old” Engine #3 on A-shift. I marked a “working fire” from the station due to the volume of smoke and location (Mountain Ave … approx 4 blocks from the station). I have a recording of that incident and listen to it on occasion still today. She was a good dispatcher (she’s now a Deputy Sheriff) . She had an understanding for the job yet had to sit there and listen to her big brother “doing it” and keep her cool. She did … and multiple times after that as well. Like I said … good dispatchers are HARD to find and we’re lucky to have a few!
Anyway, I just wanted to take a minute to say THANK YOU to ours and to remind you to do the same for yours. The next time your sitting around the station bitching about pay, benefits etc; think about these folks. They (ours anyway) are locked in a dungeon, minimal lighting and contact with the outside world at the very BOTTOM of the pay scale and our safety (lives) depend on them doing a good job.
If you’re worried about how things worked out … hey … WE’RE THE ROANOKE FIRE DEPARTMENT! All incidents were handled in a timely manner. Nobody was injured or killed, the flood waters went down and the “Southies” put the fire out (GREAT Job Captain Mike Armstrong, Engine Co. #8 and other responding units). “Rookie Randy” did fine as well … he was prepared for ANYTHING!
LMAO ! Don’t worry “Moma Randy” … I’m taking good care of him!
Thank a dispatcher … Stay Safe and In House!