High Rise training, fighting, dancing and a rodeo!

I didn’t get a post up saturday night because I took  half the day off.

My beautiful bride and I attended her 25th high school reunion.

We had a very nice dinner and dance  at Mariner’s Landing  on nearby Smith Mountain Lake.

For those of you wondering …. YEA … I still “got it”. That 80’s music had me throwing down moves that would have made John Travolta   embarrased   proud!  LOL

Special THANKS to Brother Brad Dinwiddie from from Station #6 for hooking me up with a room.

I only took half the day off because we had a scheduled High Rise Drill first thing Saturday morning. The exercise was held at a 9 story apartment complex in my 2nd due. It’s our 2nd for a single engine response but we are on the 1st alarm assignment (2nd in) for fire calls. I ran this building a TON while assigned to station #9 …. IT’S A NIGHTMARE!

We all have one and THIS is the building that I worry about at night. I was happy to be there for yet another pre-fire plan / response exercise. As much as I have ran this location, I benifited from the drill SO…. you would think that one of the people who would benifit the most wouldhave  been  “Rookie Randy” right???   ….. NOT!

Randy took the day off. The WHOLE day off (that’s another reason I couldn’t get the whole day … RANDY took it! ) It was to be Randy’s 1st day off since being assigned to companies and this is the day he picks.

Had I have known what he was going to do, I would have denied the day!

Apparently, Rookie Randy wants to be a cowboy. Not just any cowboy mind you… a  PBR Rodeo cowboy.

He missed multi-company training at our highest risk structure to go to a rodeo in Charlotte, NC!

Not only did he go …. he took poor little Miss Dana and shacked up in a hotel room somewhere down there.

Sinful is what it is and I guess in a round about way, I allowed it to happen. I’m supposed to be responsible for little Randy!  What kind of Captain does that make me?

Ashamed … that’s what I am … ASHAMED!

LOL … all kidding aside, Randy was very excited to get the day off and be able to take his fiance’  “Miss Dana” down to the show.

Randy is a huge PBR fan and even rode bulls for a while before finding some easier work. Yea … he thinks working for me is easier than ridding bulls !!

I was a little worried at first. When Georgie, Boots and I reported for duty @ 7am on Saturday, the first thing we did was call to fret  check on Randy. You know, we wanted to make sure he got there safely and that little Miss Dana didn’t have him hog tied in the hot tub. Oh yea … his hotel room had a hot tub ( Like I said … SINFULL ! Poor little fella is still shriveled up like a prune ). Anyway, he didn’t answer his phone.

I mean we called every 10 minutes!  How was I to know that he wasn’t somewhere in a roadside ditch? How did we know he wasn’t in jail? Anything could have happened and here we were worried sick. What could he have been doing to keep him from answering the phone? Ugggggg! I think I aged 20 years worrying about the little fella. LOL

Well, he eventually returned our calls and eased our minds. He was safe and sound. They had a BLAST and made it safely home on Sunday. I’m glad he got the day off and was able to spend it with Dana doing something they enjoy. He’s been doing a FANTASTIC  job here at the station and without a doubt EARNED the day off.

So, while Randy was down in Charlotte having the time of his life, we were stuck here getting ready for a fight!

Any fire is a battle …. a high rise fire is WAR!

The good news is that I have a top notch crew. Boots (Todd Harris) will take on anything. If you see him and a bear fighting …. help the bear! LOL

Our scerario had fire showing from the 7th floor. Lucky #13 was assigned with Engine 5 and assigned to fire attack (just like it would happen if we actually had a fire there tonight). Just getting the hose and gear to the upper floors can be a challenge.

Successful midigation of a high rise fire is dependant on well disiplined firefighters. You have to know your job and be able to do it well.

That is, of course; unless you’re assigned to a truck company.

Then you just hand around and try to look good…LOL

All kidding aside, on a fire like this; all hands are working. In our Department, it would take a minimum of 2 alarms and most likely a 3rd just to accomplish simple tasks.

The first arriving truck companies will most likely be tied up making rescues from windows and balconies.

When these guys (or the 3rd & 4th due truck companies) get inside the building,  they will be assigned to search the fire floor and the floor above in most cases without the protection of a hose line!

This building has metal doors and jambs so forcable entry will be another factor to concider.

Of course  “truckies” carry big heavy tools to help em open doors and such …. “IRONS” or something like that. All the Engine has to do is put the fire out!

LOL … Im not going to get into the  Truck vs Engine arguement because like I’ve said … on a fire like this, it takes EVERYONE (plus I’ve done BOTH truck and Engine work so I can pick on both or either).

On a high rise fire, if we can (depending on fire location and several other factors) we would take the elevators at least part of the way up. Sometimes that works, other times not so much.

I have always thought of this building as NOT even having an elevator. They are more ofter than not broken down or occupied on the upper floors by residents. Either way, I don’t trust em …WE HUMP THE STAIRS.

The attack crew has 5 sections of 2 1/2 inch hose, a “high rise pack”, TIC (thermal imaging camera), hand tools and extra bottles to carry up.

After we identify the fire floor, we would connect to the stand pipe on the floor below fire. We then stretch to the floor above and back down to the fire floor. Its easier to pull the hose down steps rather than up while advancing onto the fire.

We have to leave a member at the connection to monitor the pressure gauge.

We also need to think about “door control” on the fire floor ( possible civilians  using our stairway to exit the building etc).

Then we have to advance a 2 1/2 inch line down a smoke filled, super heated hallway and attack the fire.

Searches, rescues, evacuation or protect in place, ventilation, salvage and overhaul are other tasks that will need to be completed.


It’s not something that we do everyday here in “The Noke” so again .. it was a good training exercise!

We learned a few lessons. We did a lot of things right and found some things that we want to “tweek” a little.

Companies involved were Engines 5, 13, 4  Ladders 5, 2 Medic 5, RS1, and Battalions 2 and 1 (19 members). It was a good job by all members on scene!

So, there you have it some training / fighting … a little dancing and a rodeo!

We’re back on duty today and start 4 day break in the morning.  It’s been a pretty busy evening so far. Nothing spectacular but Randy did catch a decent dumpster fire. I left my camera at the station but luckily one of our local news stations was on scene. They had the camera set up before we arrived and got it all on film. RANDY WAS DOING IT !!!  ( I’ll have the video soon )

LOL … although it was just a dumpster fire, it made for good training for Randy. He was masked up and in proper / full PPE. He made a good stretch and knock down. EVERY incident is a learning experience and Randy is comming along just fine.

I’ll check in from the hay fields over 4 day. Until I do, you guys stay Safe and in House!

Captain Wines