Life is flying minute by minute. Exponentially increasing with each passing nanosecond. It seems that the more experience I gain the more chances to learn. I am consumed by the everyday tasks and responsibilities. Dreams and aspirations are put aside to handle day-to-day activities. Radio, television,and the ever-present cellular phone are enhancing my information but stealing my time.
As an automotive mechanic I can buy and sell parts and labor. I can inventory parts but the labor is gone with the end of the day. I must make the most of each 6 minute time period that my day of 24 hours is divided up into.You see mechanics are paid by the 1/10th of the hour. My day is billed in 80 increments. Once the day is past I have to give more time . I get to inventory parts for sale another time but Labor is Gone like the Magic Smoke from complicated electronic devices.
Priority is making sure my hard-earned knowledge is passed on to my Family and Friends. I am so involved that several different self-help brochures and even books could be written. I bet my EMT knowledge could be written in a primer for new EMT’s. Not to mention the Automotive repair hard knocks that must be earned and will be learned.
Communication by all parties is utmost important. Especially in Automotive repair we have to be extra clear about costs and long-term effects any diagnosis and repair may have. EMT’s must be brutally direct and ask for permission to treat a patient. Continued communication and I will bring in Compassion now. It takes time for compassion and it is knowledge of a situation and understanding how the situation affects a person.
My compassion brings me the balance I so need to stave off complacency and PTSD. I need my Fellow FF, and my ability to express my emotion. I am a story-teller and will share discretely the humorous situations I find myself in for all my involvement.
Of course Fire and EMS provide a grand backdrop for life changing stories. The automotive business delivers hits that just keep on coming. Murphy seem well at home here!!!. And as a Christian If I cannot laugh at myself and our “Church” I would not be able to live!
I have the same troubles that most “random” life has. I am A Boy Scout… Be Prepared, I have trained for a life of Service, Church and Fire-Rescue. I live on-call. I even vacation ready to help. Many situations in life have come and gone and I have accepted the challenges and Excelled. I have failed and tried to hide my situation. I have confessed my failures and Been forgiven.
I just need to put my needs down on paper and then list the achievements and accomplishments periodically. I may fail. I may slide. I will always ask for Help and Forgiveness.
Thanks for my Family and Community and My Nation. I am nothing without GOD and Grace!
What is it you really want? Money ,Power, Fame , or thanks for a job well done? Acknowledgement that you too are valuable? I have asked for input in various venues. I receive blank looks, stares, and seldom any answers. Is it because we are already getting the needed praise and admiration? Have we become satisfied with the paycheck or just a simple thanks for a job well done? Do we expect so little because we don’t get any more return of gratification.
For a society that will only wait 15 seconds for an elevator before becoming antsy, we surely need that instant gratification Pavlov found so important to explaining behavior. I got triggered to write by a Fire Service Video asking folks in their community what firefighters do and are they Valuable. The answer is a resounding YES! Valuable and most public knew FF had expanded roles today. In fact almost half of the folks interviewed had had direct interaction with firefighters. Two had house fires and one had a medical issue.
The question still is: What do you expect? The answers are complex and varied. Varied to the situation and scope of the picture…. I.E. my local community versus the World view. Is is a situation that will be life-changing? Will I need preparation or training for the changes coming? Am I ready or will change just roll me over and keep on trucking?
I am ready for the many and varied changes that come into my long life of service. My business, Fire Department, and even my Church and Religion have changed. I must have changed and will continue to change.
My automotive customers; by the surveys and reviews, want the car fixed the first time, on time, and in a convenient manner. My hours and flexibility about helping customers in the off hours must be OK because many reviewers are 100% satisfied. Do they want more or are the parameters so set in stone they are getting 100% of what is available?
I want to feel good about helping, be thanked, and only called when needed. I want all my automotive customers to call about any issue!! I really think I can save you money if I get to help. I know I can save you time!!!… My Emergency customers I will respond for almost any call until I find that it can be solved another way, it is another agency responsibility, or it is abuse of the system. Intentional abuse or just not knowing is the same sometimes.
What are you willing to Give?.. is the answer to:.. What do you want? I will give you my life but it will not be frivolous or without thought. 42 years of service and hundreds of mentors and countless hours of training has taught me I expect the Best, Smartest,and most driven people to succeed. The rest will just get by and get along… C’mon What do You Expect?
Life responds each day with new and different experiences. Some are Breathtaking others mundane . I have been blessed to have been raised to help. Animals, People,or machine I have skills that I can put to use in a firefighters minute.
I remember running or riding my bike up to the main road to watch the firetruck or Sheriff go zipping off to help someone.
The Vienna Fire Department siren was mounted on the building . When a Fire or Rescue call was dispatched the siren would wind up to a high pitch and drop to a low mournful wail. The dogs in the neighborhood would hear the siren first. Anybody outside would stop and listen but us kids would ride or run to Old 421 to watch the firetrucks. We would wait hopping up and down until we could pump our arms up and down for the Engineer to blow that horn.
The siren has been retired due to our call volume and each firefighter getting a pager or monitor. That siren would get the adreneline flowing in all around when it went off. It may take the average person juiced by the siren 30 minutes or more to calm down. Firefighters with a working call would have extra stamina and strength or if canceled needed to learn how to burn off that extra juice. The firefighters friend and enemy adrenaline. It took years to understand why I could just hear tones and be wide awake. Tones came late in my early teens, we could get up just by hearing the words Vienna and House Fire. Breathing became rapid and just going across the street to turn off the siren and hear where the trucks were going was difficult.
We did not have as many canceled calls because we ran 1/3 as many calls. Not near the medical because we had family and neighbors for the small stuff. The firemen that started Vienna used to laugh at us studing from the Red books and learning first aid. They were not mean laughing because they had the foresight to attract a bunch of kids. They laughed at how something as simple as helping your neighbor could require so much time and training. They laughed out of relief that someone was there to do the job. Youth and Skill to the rescue. Knowledge and training and we could move mountains. We never worried about the money, the time required or the cost to our families. We realized at the 20yr mark like our founding Fathers how smart they were. We recruited and changed to meet the new needs. We are highly trained in medical, psychology, Fire Science, and Hydraulics. We are proficient in numerous rescue techniques and Advanced automotive systems and the dismantling of the crushed passenger roll cage/compartment.
Today we are more than professional gawkers and involved. We are committed to spending a lifetime taking care of generations of residents in our district.
The first run of the 1995 Ice storm proved to be a testament of readiness, right people, right timing, Luck and Skill.
Vienna and All surrounding departments had great working relationships. There are personalities that influence the interaction between departments. Walter my Chief is a no-nonsense commander. Follow Sog’s and procedures and anticipate the situation and especially listen to orders and directives. Radio protocols are important and when disasters hit use the radio sparingly. A tremendous amount of equipment ,personnel,and Officers will be mobilized. Not every radio can broadcast.
Ice had been building up as the rain continued and the temperature dropped. The county was slowly iced over west to east with a little more in the northernmost districts. Our weather tends to be westerly and this storm proved no different. Trees sagging under the ice buildup started dropping. Trees landed on power lines, homes,and roadways.
Traveling to and from work most of Vienna residents go East in the morning and West in the evening. Main roads to and from Winston-Salem are 2 lane and easily blocked by trees during wind,ice,or rain events. Trees across the roads get the first calls in the event also. Cell phones have proliferated resulting in thousands of calls to the 911 centers. With that said: multiple departments and hundreds of FF got the first calls as fast as the call centers could take and dispatch calls.
FF and their officers tend to develop an ear for when a call is really an emergency and those that should be routine. This Ice Storm changed the paradigm. Initially we were dispatched to trees in the road. The dispatches became more emergent, house fires from lines n meters jerked off homes, auto crashes from slick roads and trees. We responded only to become trapped in neighborhoods and away from our stations and resources. FF were drawn out of their districts on mutual aid and trapped for a time. FF left family and homes and businesses to find out later trees and power lines down and on their homes and damage happening too even some Fire Stations.
Doc had been moved from the Lake hills community to the Reynolda rd intersection. Transport units were tied up with the initial blast and blocked from us by trees. Vienna still had an ambulance and Woody heard the call for help after Walt demanded everybody stop transmitting on F1. Woody self dispatched and while Walt and Control worked out the details he was moving our way. Medic 3 from Rural Hall was near our area and John started our way. Control was initially going to intercept with a Unit. Woody and Medic 3 arrived about the same time and everybody jumped in.
Once Doc was loaded in the Vienna Squad- 4 FF started the life saving job of stabilizing Head, Neck and monitoring airways and stopping the bleeding. We were all dressed in turnout gear and had multiple medic bags and we were shedding coats and undressing our patient at the same time. We were loaded and just picked up a paramedic after we got en route to Baptist. Reynolda was clear for now and other roads to NC Baptist were blocked. Off we went. Gently the airway was tested and secured. Head and neck immobilization was achieved and Doc responded with some good breaths. Medics and EMT’s and First responders were working feverishly to save a life. The roads became worse and tree limbs blocked a portion of the Road and we found out after that Reynolda became closed for hours after we passed through. We detoured around a closed street near Stratford and made our way to the Baptist ED. …We made it safely and Doc was transfered to the care of the Staff he had been teaching for Years. It took almost an hour to sort out the back of that Rescue Squad…. Next Getting back to Vienna and the next 36 hours
Fire training for me started with me sitting in a meeting and listening to an instructor talk about a topic I had no idea what he was referring to. I was 15 years old and Firetrucks were red and had water that you could squirt through a hose. I already knew about fire from the Boy Scouts. I could start and put them out. I knew about the fuels and how much they consumed. I remember the first smoke training we had as cadets in 1975. We got some gear (cotton duck) with boots too large and plastic helmets and outfitted all the cadets. The experienced FF then lit a room in an abandoned house and we crawled down the hall and waited while the fire grew. We did this in several groups and each time it was my turn the fires grew larger. We kept our nose to the floor and face shield down. As we started using the hose we would spray the room and hold our breath and wait for the smoke to lift. We had started at night and some were ready to burn it down after just a few fires. The younger guys wanted as many chances to go down that hall as possible. WE learned to breath off the nozzle air as it was flowing into the room. We stayed low but sometimes had to stand and flow water and learned to be near the window or doorway so we could duck out to breathe.
41 years later and I am the instructor that is talking about flowpaths, vent limited, fuel limited, ppv, negative pressure and all kinds of terms. I can see the looks of boredom and I switch to a video. I refer them to a website and then we Practice, Practice, Practice. We were working towards a structure burn with Old Richmond. We had 2 very new folks and some experienced but not heat tested. I wanted all my personnel to get the benefit of heat and smoke early in the rookie process to see what might wash out. Safety training and NFPA1403 are required for my personnel are allowed to go to structure burns.
We had an acquired structure and permission to use it for smoke training. We wanted to get the basic skills covered during this event. We had each crew ladder a 2nd story window, access the room, shut the door, search the room, 2nd member using the thermal imager to assist and watch the searcher. We had 2 smoke tenders- making sure our smoke was good and thick. We had inside and outside safety and of course a Command structure working on the few crews we had.
I cannot help but comment and be proud that Gen 2#1 Jim was our fireman, Gen2#2 Paul was crew leader. I went in to watch and was pleasantly surprised by the assistance from instructors and other members guiding each FF making sure important steps in each evolution were not missed. Byron was command and I pumped the truck. I was not really needed anywhere. Our future and present leadership got the house searched, ventilated and fire suppressed.
We got packed up and arrived back at the Station and everyone set out to cleaning or washing and getting back in service. I was bummed at first by the low #s but Proud we got the rookies some smoke. I was elated at how well Vienna FD performed on the structure burn. Way to Go Guys and Gals…
The recent Ice and Snow always brings to mind the tales of Vienna overcoming the weather and some of the crazy things seen during Wild Weather.
Ice storm 1996 Groundhog day to be exact started with pouring rain and wind. The forecast was 1-2 inches of rain followed by plunging temperatures and a week near Zero. The track of the storm put Forsyth county right in the middle of the Snow zone,Freezing rain zone, or just a gullywashing zone. It hit just perfectly that the northern and western part of the county took the greatest hit from some 1/2 inch to 1 inch of ice. I-40 was a dividing line between complete devastation and just flooding. Lewisville, Vienna, and Old Richmond had hundreds of trees down and many power lines with all the power outin a matter of hours. Rain started in the night and by 11am we had freezing rain building up sagging the trees. I got the Garage as close to ready as possible with lots of wood and getting the bathroom (floods when out of power) set for blocking the toilet.
The first calls came as power lines arcing and a house fire. We responded to assist Old Richmond staging away from the pine forest in Lake Hills. Walking to the small fire started by a tree ripping the service line off the house we could hear trees breaking in the distance. I had just reached the front yard when 2 trees came down blocking the street. Trapped in were 2 engines and 109. I walked back to my truck and grabbed my chainsaw and with 2 more FF started cutting limbs away to move trucks.
We worked about 1/2 hour and dodged several falling limbs and a couple of trees. We knew we had to get out of there. With everything cut free, fires extinguished, and all getting away we heard a cry for help.
An Old Richmond member was an ED Physician and had been hit by a falling tree. I grabbed my EMT vest and went to him. He was Bent over a tree not responsive with massive bleeding from the head. I called out for help and could see about 10-15 trees in the road one way and 109 the other way. I supported his head and neck and rolled him off the tree and opened his airway using a jaw thrust. I put a heavy drainage on the back of his head and moved the jaw and he took a breath….Whew.
I started head to toe and found open cranium, collarbone , orbit fractures and low breathing rate. Another tree cracked and crashed down just in front of me. I yelled for a backboard and looked down the street. There by miracle came a St27 FF with a board. Crossing the trees one by one. Remember we had ice and sleet making it very slick. The crew from 109 let me clean out the back and we loaded Doc up with me cradling the head and keeping the airway open. I had called for ambulance and help and Forsyth county had a roving Medic truck to assist the Squads. John was close and we got Vienna’s Squad to transport. Medic 3 met us at Reynolda rd and we transferred the Doc .
Doc survived and the ride into the hospital is another story in the Ice Storm Saga…
Stay tuned to the true stories of Wild Weather
We came together in this group… ? How we finish this sentence depends on the group. I am in many great groups and several foster relationships that make me feel like family. I love my co-workers several of which are family and With Richard and Billy we are brothers from other mothers.
My Scouting group brought me together with other scouts and we became family. My Troop now brought together a group of Dads that have become my Best Friends. We are constantly in touch through the Troop news or now Social media. We interact as scout Dads and then we move on. Our time together binds us forever. Scouting is timeless and a few have found ways to serve beyond the Troop level. This keeps us in touch and visiting our Favorite places. For Mac and a few others it’s those great outdoors. Camping as a means to its own end. Joy and beauty. Add a little pain and discomfort and its all worth it to see the Nature our God planned for us.
For a few others it is the Camp Raven Knob that is timeless. The place where God reached down and touched the Earth. We stay in touch and go work just to enjoy the serenity of a night’s camping on Our Reservation. We bonded with our Brothers and for my whole family its Wahissa 118. Scouting service and honor camping society lets us serve Scouting, The CRK, and the Youth. Brothers working with Brothers for the greater good.
If you follow my Blog at all you know that I write what is in my head at the time. I write to preserve history and my history and hopefully to save someone from some of the stupid mistakes I have made. I am writing today because I did get to say goodbye to one of my Brothers Tom Hardin. Tom had an accident and died as the result of his injuries. I learned so much about his family and his spirit from the funeral. Tom Loved God, Family, and his Country. He was a pig cooker. He fit right into our Scout family.
One of my other Scout Dad’s missed the notification and almost missed the funeral. We talked about the loss of a brother and how much we did not know. I am saddened by my loss and proud to have been in service to my fellow-man and My God with TOM
Love ya gonna miss Ya