Vacation halted

Once again, I have a ton of catching up to do. I think I warned ya before heading out to Orange County with the Roanoke Rampage that I would be very busy once back home trying to “catch up” on all the farm work etc.

Well, I didn’t lie and man am I tired. I never knew what “jet lag” was. Maybe I still don’t but I can tell ya that changing time zones from one coast to the other will wear you out. I still haven’t fully recovered.

I thought I had it all planned out. I had the cycle off on vacation. Due to our shift (24/24) that gives me 13 days in a row off. Horses, cows, hay to mow, grass to mow and trying to build a barn …. a fella needs 13 days. The bad part …. it’s rained almost every day. I can’t catch up!

Then I got a reminder … I had “traded” some time with one of the brothers from A-shift here at Lucky #13 and he needed the day back. He had worked for me when I needed it and now it was time to repay the favor.

Rhett had a great post over on Fire Critic that mentions this very thing. In the post titled  Random Musings About Firehouse Life he says   ” NO matter how many times I explain to my wife that if someone works for me I HAVE to work for them…she will never understand! ”     If you haven’t read the post yet, check it out  HERE  .

Anyway, there was never any doubt that I was gonna pay the day back so my 13 day vacation has been cut a little short. I’m working today with the guys from A-shift. The Captain for this shift (Lynn Flora) was here this morning and I was covering for the Lieutenant. Instead of taking the driver’s seat, I opted to ride backwards…yea .. I remember how to do that!

Captain Flora had 16 hours vacation so he went home at 4pm and I moved up to my regular seat. It’s been a decent day. After our morning cleaning and check off duties, we had the brothers from Station #5 up for some training.

One of our “Crusty Old Jakes” … Danny “Moose” Hughs is on light duty assigned to the Training Division. He was tasked with coming up with some sort of training to deliver to the companies this month.

What he came up with was quite interesting. He solicited help from every member. He wanted to know “things” that you have learned from the job. Things passed down from older Captains or members. The things you wont find in the books.

He comprised a list, read em and then we added to and sat around and discussed all of the “tricks of the trade”.

-Never trust the “lights” on the pump panel for your water level in the engine. Along the same lines, when you pick a piece up from the garage, visually check the level …. they dump the water to jack em up / work on em.

-On a 2nd floor fire, you can locate which side of the house the stairs are on from your exterior size up … noting the small window on the landing.

-Interior stairways are “stacked”. Remember this when trying to find attic access. The stairs to the attic are directly above the set you used to get to the 2nd floor.

-Vehicles don’t wreck / crash in “Park”. Upon arrival on a vehicle accident, always assure the involved vehicles are in “Park” and the emergency brake applied.

-What’s in your pocket? Dog biscuits … side cutters … webbing??? Also see another post from Rhett over on Fire Critic   HERE .

-Listen more than you talk.. especially when you’re the new guy or rookie.

He had some pretty good ones … I’m now curious if you folks have some to add.

What kind of tricks or tips have you learned from the job?

Use the “Comment” section or drop me an e-mail … I’d LOVE to hear em.  We  also did a little training on our hose tester.

A FINE piece of machinery ….  LOL … NOT.

Actually, it works well with smaller diameter hose 2 1/2″ or 1 3/4″ … not so well with 5″ supply line.

Either way, it was another good class presented by our one and only “Moose” . Now that my not seem like a big deal to you folks but for some of us older local guys it really is. You see, when we think of Moose, an instructor from the training division is the last picture to come to mind.

He used to be a little on the “wild” side. A fireman on duty or off. I could tell ya 1,000 stories. Lena and the chain link fence at old #5, his famous “Christmas in July” parties … I once seen him eat a whole string of Christmas lights from around the window in Hooters. LMAO … he didn’t eat the whole string …. just the bulbs .. he left the cord .. LMAO!

Anyway, it was good to see a guy with Moose’s experience and time on the job settle down and give something back to our younger members (of course his class today was good for young and old). Thanks Moose, great job Brother!

I seen something today that got me to thinking about the “Cabbage Disease” … you know, when the stalk wont hold the head up…

LOL … now get your minds out of the gutter … I’m not talking about that kind of cabbage disease, It got me thinking about BOOTS.

Look at that poor ol “limp” pair of boots by the rig.

They can’t be comfortable anymore … they make my feet sore just looking at em.

Seeing these boots got me thinking back to Moose’s class this morning. I recently received a tip from a younger member concerning how to keep their shape / form.

Most of you will know Firefighter / Medic Drew Able from Station #3-A.

Drew works with Rhett over at the “Hippie Hotel”

Drew sent me a series of pics concerning this exact issue.

This is a typical set of leather pull on boots out of their bunker pants … flimsy and out of shape.

Drew recomends using an empty bottle of V8 juice to help the boot hold it’s memory when not in service / use.


Of course, being from the Hippie Hotel”, he recommends a V8 juice bottle. Actually, he recommends using V8 “light”. He says it contains less sugar and  is better for ya. You’re supposed to drink the juice before using the bottle.

I’m not sure if he uses the bottles in his boots while on duty or just when storing them while off duty.

Apparently, it works …

His boots still have a good shape and form.


Another Great tip .. a “Trick of the Trade” .

 Just look at the shape and form of those babies!

I’m not so sure about the V8 … at least not unless you use it to make a red eye or something … I guess it’s all in the “shape” of the bottle.

Anyway… THANKS to Drew for a good tip.

I have another remedy for saggy, no shape boots …


Buy a pair of Black Diamond X2 Boots !

Look at those babies picture on the right…

14″ of firefighting pleasure! That’s my latest pair of Black Diamonds .. the X2.

Firetuff leather with Fusion fabric. The exclusive 3 point heel lock system, Kevlar lining, padded shin guard , rubber toe cap and the integrated pull-on system!

No joke guys, this is a great boot! I’ll have an “official” product review on the boot next week but until then .. TRUST ME … buy this boot!


Ok … moving on, there are / have been (as always) several great posts here on the Fire/EMS Blog Network this week. Several have caught my attention and I’ll touch on a few tonight and will go into more detail in a later post this week.

Dave Statter has a post concerning citizen complaints. Now these aren’t complaints about muddy water from hydrant testing or too many trucks at the same grocery store. These are complaints of the Fire Department not performing to expected standards. Citizen standards … tax payers … our customers standards / expectations.

This is the reaction I have been warning of for sometime now. I understand the changing dynamics of today’s fire grounds and how / why we must change our tactics and “the way we do business” but there is also a fine line there.

A quote from the Article was  “We lost our home. They were supposed to save our home.” The 2nd fire in the post was a fatal fire. Again, bystander and public perception was that the Fire Department didn’t do enough. It’s a great post that’s well worth the read / time. Check it out over on Statter911  HERE .

Like I said .. I want to give this topic a lot more time so I’ll follow up with more thoughts, comments later this week. Until then, give it a read and see what your thoughts are.

Another post that caught my attention was another one from Rhett on the Fire Critic (he’s been on a roll this week).

This post is of how “brownouts” in the  Cape Coral (Florida) Fire Department resulted in a delayed response to a fatal heart attack call…. here’s a quote ..

“Trucks, even entire fire stations in some fire districts, go unmanned for a shift when there are not enough people on duty to cover them. These brownouts save money by eliminating the need to pay overtime to fully staff the service. source “

I wonder how much money the “brownouts”  saved? I wonder how Cape Coral compares those savings to the value of  a human life? The Fire Service (the part that has boots on the ground anyway) has been saying from day 1 … brownouts, station closures and staff reductions PLACE LIVES IN DANGER. The “bean counters” know it too … they’re just willing to take the gamble.

How’s that for a kick in the balls? Someone downtown in a suit and tie .. someone who has never been on a rig .. on the end of a hose line or crawling down a dark hot hallway is gambling with my life!  My life and YOURS!

Again, I’ll go into more detail later this week. Check out Rhetts post  “It Happened Again..”   HERE  .

Ok.. I’m gonna stop here for now .. before I get too worked  up.

Before I go .. I will leave ya with one more little piece of wisdom …

When it rains multiple inches per hour…. or when it’s rained every day for 2 weeks, the shoulders of the road become soft.

Fire Trucks are loaded down with water, tools and equipment … they’re HEAVY.

Heavy fire trucks and soft, rain soaked shoulders don’t mix. I’m just saying.


I’ll check back as soon as I can. Until then … Stay Safe and in house!

Captain Wines