Friday, April 10, 2009

what would you do if . . . ?

Fire service is something that people tend to take for granted, like rain in the summer and snow in the winter. You don't really think about it unless it's raining or snowing . . . or you need a fire truck. Then you dial 911 and a crew magically appears in four minutes. But what would you think if you called the fire department, and nobody showed up? Especially if your house was actually burning.

Years ago I saw a cartoon of a distressed couple in front of their burning home staring at the fire crew . . . which was a mother and three kids in turnout gear. The caption read, "What did you expect on Super Bowl Sunday?" I laughed when I read it, but it's too close to the truth sometimes to be funny. No firefighter wants to admit that there might be days when the whole department has gone AWOL. But it happens. After all, these folks are volunteers. They have lives and jobs and holidays and family just like everyone else.

I did a Google search for the Super Bowl cartoon but couldn't find it. I would draw you a reasonable facsimile, but that might be plagiarism. You'll just have to take my word for it that it was funny. If you want to see a funny clip about firefighting , click
here.

We do seem to manage most of the time. Departments that actually have municipal neighbours call for mutual aid when they're short staffed. Upsala is an island in the middle of no-man's-land. When we call for mutual aid, we have to wait at least an hour. So we pre-plan. I put out a notice cancelling all fires and other emergencies. Something like: "There will be no unplanned fires or vehicle crashes permitted between Monday and Wednesday this week. After that, careless cooking and smoking may be resumed." Hey, whatever it takes to get the job done.

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