Skip to content

Responding as Great Help or Professional Gawker?

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.

More Stories from the Wild Side

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

Stay tuned

Awesome Training

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…

Stories from the Wild Side

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

Brothers from Other Mothers

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

Watch what you Say!!!

Life is on Autopilot…. Wonderful marriage, Home in magnificent community, and the best 2 jobs I will ever love. I am Fire Chief of Vienna Fire Department starting my 11th year as Chief and 41 serving my community. My for pay occupation is Auto mechanic. That too started for me 41 years ago. My arrangement for living is next door to the Shop and across the street from the Fire Department. Maybe too close for some but for me; I am able and willing to assist my community in many ways.
I am blessed to be able to articulate my thoughts and depending on the audience report on the outstanding performance of my Fire department or the Achievements of our Scout Troop 919. By the way I am an Eagle Scout from T919 and have 2 Eagle Scout Sons. I still am very active as Assistant Scoutmaster. I report to my Fire Department Corporation yearly as Chief. I report to my Church and to our Scout Troop yearly also and Vice-versa. All in all I get to keep up with hours donated and served. This is for the 50+ members of my Fire Department, The 300+ members of our Church, and the 50-75 members of our Scout Troop.
Recording and Calculating all the time, talents, and gifts received by the organizations is both time-consuming and interesting. Mandatory reporting has helped me with our Fire reports and Church. Scouting is harder to get a grip on but being involved and Committed for numerous years has helped me compile the data. Scouting and Fire Department each have been running upwards of 1100 hours/yr each by myself and several adults and youth that are active. Between the three organizations I have donated time equal to 1&1/2 FULL-TIME positions. I am also blessed to work about 2200 hrs/yr at Wilson’s Garage.
Vienna had finished off the recorded year 2014 with very few incidents with fire loss. The District has about .5 Billion property values and I think we only lost about 30,000$ in actual losses. We had almost 600 Fire, Rescue, and Medical calls in all of Vienna FD. WE assisted about 90 times and so out of 500 Calls we lost only 30k out of 1/2 Billion$. Amazing, Luck, Fortunate or Excellent Fire Prevention. Whatever it is I am all for it.
Now I get to being careful what you say! We started 2015 off by me Saying yes to the Chief position at Vienna, Board Chair at Brookstown UMC, and Chartered Organization Representative and Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 919. God, Family, and Community are large and in charge of my Life.
Next Vienna started out with 2 burn injury fires and several woods and grass fires. February has given us cold temperatures and snowfall. Exciting time ahead for all organizations but we started 2015 off with a bang… Here we go… Be careful what you wish for… and Watch what you say!!!

Blessed and Amazed

I am a part of many organizations and longevity fits into my lifestyle. I have been a member of the Vienna Fire Department and worked for my business Wilson’s Garage 40 years. In that time I have participated in Scouting for nearly 40 yrs, and attended many events for nearly 50 yrs.
The Piedmont Fire Expo held the 40th Anniversary show at Benton Convention Center. As a young fireman my mentors sent me to the first Seminar and I have continued every year since. I missed a few in college and started helping early on. I got onto the training committee in 1984 or 5 and have been helping load the buildings with trucks and tabletops since the middle 80’s.
Vendors and guests have been the backbone of one of the largest displays in the state. We have had top national and leading training available for the attendees to educate and inform as needed. Major incidents and motivational Speakers along with trends and basic info. When certification became the trend we held special certifications.
The Expo has changed and moved locations over the years. We have outgrown several venues. We currently can fill almost any floor space in the Winston-Salem Area. Attendees again this year had the chance to be more social. Tabletops and trucks on one floor. Breakout classes were well attended and a Keynote for the first time in 8 years challenged all departments attendance to remember Why we are Doing What we Do!
Men, Women, and Children are the reason we respond period. Not for the Service, Beautiful Trucks, Tradition, or Ego’s. We respond, Prevent, Educate, and investigate simply to Save the lives of those in our districts. We get it! Sometimes we need reminding and it takes getting out of our element. At home we are Hero’s! We are busy, service oriented , and very important to the community. Not having the big head but big fish in the little pond… Going to the Expo and walking among hundreds of heroes puts you in a different perspective. You become a big fish in the larger body of water. Maybe even walking among the leaders of the County, City , and State and this weekend National Fire Service we seem like a smaller hero. It is a feeling we all need at times. The ability to truly interact with Giants of our Fire Service is amazing. One on one time with Authors of the books and periodicals we read. Trainers with thousands of hours of time using and testing the tools of our trade are available. Finding how you match-up with knowledge and tactics and SOG’s is sometimes enlightening.
Blessed and Amazed at the evolution of our business and the Wonderful reinforcement of your own personal goals and levels of achievement. I get to walk among Giants of the Fire Service and Serve with Pride my Little Vienna Fire Department. Uplifted and reinforced to continue the weekly training and call volume is the What my Expo does.
Thanks to all who helped and planned and carried out the 40th Annual Piedmont Fire Expo!!!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,507 other followers