Thursday, May 21, 2009

another link in the learning chain of survival

I'm instructing this weekend. With the exception of being home with my family, it's my favourite thing to do. Where else can you play with fire, rub shoulders with the best people in the world, and get paid to do it? Firefighting comes a close second, but when the pagers go off, we don't really play with the fire . . . we're supposed to put it out.

It's amazing how many crazy people still live in the world. I mean, of course, volunteer firefighters. I walked into a classroom of 28 people that looked quite sane and normal at first glance. But I knew better. I'm pretty sure they knew better too. For the next three days we are going to work, fry, boil, steam, and otherwise totally wear them out - while their friends are busy recreationing the weekend away. And chances are, they'll go away saying, "Gosh, that was a ton of fun!" No overtime pay, maybe no pay at all, no job hanging on getting this training, no earthly or heavenly reason to put themselves through this. They just want to be firefighters. Volunteer firefighters. Not very sane and normal by most standards. Amazing.

Someday down the road, someone in their community is going to glad these folks are crazy. And someday these firefighters will be glad they learned how to do their crazy job safely.

It's funny, a lot of folks don't take volunteers seriously. "How dangerous can it be? They're just volunteers!" I learned an important, no-brainer truth from another instructor when I was just starting. Fire doesn't ask for your credentials. Get in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you get hurt. Career or volunteer, it doesn't really matter. Click here and here to see clips of hazards firefighters have to deal with. And these are just vehicle fires.

If you're a firefighter, get out there and get trained! Learn not to stand in front of a burning car (or behind a sneezing cow - see the link on the left side). Click here to read my opinions about being qualified, and getting trained.

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