Middle day, 4th of July weekend

Another beautiful day here in “The Noke” and we’re stuck on duty. It’s almost scary …. pretty weather, the 4th of July eve and we’ve actually been pretty quiet. I’m just waiting for the bottom to fall out.

I’m hoping for a quiet night but know how it will most likely end up.  Either way, we’re ready for it.

My “A – #1” fireman, “Boots”  actually decided to come back to work today. He’s been off for about the past 3 week due to a duty injury. Nothing serious and he’s back to 100%.

He’s behind the wheel today because our Lieutenant (Georgie)  is off. We have an overtime man (McKelvey) riding backwards.  I’ve explained several times on the site how, due to staffing issues; we only have 3 men assigned to Lucky #13 here on C-shift. Next week, all that is supposed to change. Only July 8th, our latest recruit school is scheduled to graduate. I’ve been told that I will be getting one of the new “rookies” but I don’t know which one yet.

I’m kind of supprised to be getting a rookie. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a few reasons.

First, we’re considered to be a slow house. We run our share but when compared to the run volume of other houses, we’re on the bottom end of the scale. I would think they would want the rookies at busier stations to get a little more experience.

Second, we are a single engine house. We don’t have a Medic unit here. We have 8 houses with ambulances. In those houses, all members assigned rotate through the Medic each cycle (firemen and medics anyway … not the Officers).

That means that if you’re at a house with a medic unit, odds are that you’ll be riding it at least one day out of our 3 day cycle. Obviously, our Medic units are a lot busier than Engine or Ladder companies. Riding the Medic is pretty much a sure bet for not sleeping. Again, I’d think they would want the rookies in a house with a medic unit.

Now, don’t get me wrong … it’s not that I don’t want a rookie, I just would have thought they would have put them at a busy house or with a Medic truck. Getting a rookie here is actually more good for me than the rookie. You see, I have a GREAT crew. A well seasoned crew of veterans. Although we train and hone our skills, we don’t have to be as aggressive at it as we will with a rookie. Now, it’s more like “brushing up” or “fine tuning”. With a fresh rookie it will training all day everyday. Good for us (me, Georgie and Boots) because it will keep us fresh….and, I guess even better for the rookie because he is going to be subjected to years of on the job experience and quality training.

Our Captains have no say in who is or isn’t assigned to our companies. Most likely, I wont even know which rookie I’m getting until he walks through the door. Heck, the Battalion Chiefs wont find out until the last minute.  Assignments are made out of “down town” by a person behind a desk. He tells the battalions who they get and where they are assigned (yea…the Battalions don’t even make their own station assignments). For whatever reason, assignments are a “big secret”. Even Captains are fair game. When this group of cadets come out, there will be several more moves of additional personnel to make room for the new hires. 

Some of the moves make sense … others don’t. Senior men and even officers are often moved for no apparent rhyme or reason. It often appears as if some are retaliation moves, some are the “good ol boy system” at work while others are just because they can. Micro Management !  Abraham Lincoln once said …

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”

So anyway, Boots is back today, Georgie will be back Tuesday and next week we’ll have a brand new guy.

Moving on, we had a really cool visitor today….

That’s Firefighter Bill Shick of Charlotte NC ‘s Ladder Company #1. Bill says he’s and avid reader and fan of Ironfiremen.com.  Can you believe it ? All this time and I finally got to meet him … my ONE reader and fan …LOL.

Bill was heading home from the DC area said he just had to stop in for a visit.  HOW COOL IS THAT ?!? He even brought gifts … apple pie and ice cream!

I really enjoyed the visit. I’m still shocked and humbled every time someone comes up and says they follow and like the site. Bill got a quick tour of the house but mostly we hung out by the rig and talked. He seemed like a great guy.

From what I know, Charlotte has a great Department. I’ve met several of their members in the past while playing football in the National Public Safety Football League. See previous posts   HERE   HERE   and  HERE .  They have 41 Engines, 15 ladders and 1,044 suppression personnel.

Learn more and visit the Charlotte Fire Department web site HERE

Bill says he passes through here about 3 times a year. He’s always welcome and will have a place to stay. Thanks for everything Brother! For thinking of us, for taking the time to stop by, for the pie and ice cream (it was delicious) and for following the site!

Charlotte is a cool place to visit as well. Not only have I been there playing football, I have family there. My mom, step dad and sister live in Indian Trail which is just on the outskirts. I’ll be heading down there again August for my sisters wedding.

Hopefully I can take in a few of the places I visited on previous trips and maybe even hook up with Bill and / or some other Brothers I know down there.

While playing ball in 2010, we ended up at a really cool bar … Whiskey River. They have a mechanical bull and everything … that’s one of our players girlfriend riding it back in 2010.

A Charlotte FD Brother and Cobra player #55 Nick Henderson took REALLY good care of us while we were there. That’s Nick with the red shirt in the center.

I hope I can catch up with Nick while down there in August. I can’t remember her name but I also hope he’s still dating that cute blond by his side … she was a BLAST to hang with and as you can see .. easy on the eyes …LOL. (If you’re reading this Nick … shoot me an e-mail and we’ll work out the details for me buying you a beer in August)

Moving on …. there is a pretty good employment oppurtunity here locally.

Brother Ty Dickerson dropped me an e-mail to let me know that the Lexington, Va Fire Department is hiring!

I have talked about the Lexington Fire Department many times here on Ironfiremen.

My history runs deep in Lexington. I was born there at Stonewall Jackson Hospital and live there as a child.

My dad began his firefighting career as a volunteer in Lexington back in 1968.

Most recently, I blogged about Lexington after making the trip up for birthday dinner and drinks with Brother Chris Potter. That’s my cousin Jarred Harlow on the far left, Chris Potter on the far right and Assistant Chief Jimmy Swink and the Buckaroo in the center.

We had a great time at dinner and afterwards, the fellas gave me the grand tour of the station.

 Read the related post … I was  Honored and Humbled !

This is not the station my dad started out in but they have done a great job in holding onto a lot of their history.

They have it displayed all over the house (check out the link above for some cool pics)

It’s obvious that the Lexington Fire Department is full of tradition,  honor and pride!

Wooden 50′ ladders, hand drawn ladders, old helmets, banners etc … they have tons of their history on display. They are not far off on I-81 so if you ever get the chance to stop in for a visit .. I highly recommend it (Lexington is also the home of VMI and Washington and Lee University).

As far as that goes …. you may even want to go to work for them. It sounds to me like a great oppurtunity to “get in on the ground floor” of a growing and progressive Department.

They will be hiring  3 – Firefighter / EMT’s, 3 – Firefighter / Medic’s,  a Fire / Rescue Technician and a Fire/Rescue Lieutenant. Application Deadline is Monday, July 18, 2011.  The pay ranges from $31,300-$45,200. Visit the Lexington Fire Department’s web page  HERE  or …

Click HERE for job descriptions, requirements and applications .

Ok, I think I’ll stop here for the night. Before I go … don’t forget to start making plans to attend Firehouse Expo in Baltimore, Md July 19-23. Rhett (Fire Critic) and I will be in Booth #743 with Fire Geezer and Dave Statter.  We will also be participating in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb.  They need more members to climb !!

Brother Bill Carey challenges you to “Put all that ‘brotherhood’ and ‘never forget’ talk where your feet are” !

Click HERE for details and to sign up to climb

See ya in Baltimore! Until next time, Stay Safe and in House!

Captain Wines