Sunday, June 14, 2009


I was right for once. Gerry did have a light, reader-friendly version of game seven of the playoffs. Click here.

In addition to being right, I'm going to keep my promise and write about the heroes of Goulais River, Aweres, and Searchmont. And Batchawana Bay. I'm talking about volunteer firefighters in these communities, of course. If you want to see the spectacular area these folks live in, go to Sault Ste Marie, then follow highway 17 along the north shore of Superior for about 50 km. You can get a cheaper, less rewarding tour by going to my June 12 entry and clicking the link to some north shore photos.

But back to the heroes. In an age when $60,0000 is considered a normal wage, these folks crawl into burning buildings, respond to dangerous goods incidents, give medical aid to total strangers, and drop their lives at the tone of a pager for less than $50 a week. In many cases, it's much less than $50 a week. On top of that, they use their spare time and vacation days to train so they can volunteer more effectively.

Firefighter training is rarely a picnic. In Ignace a few weeks ago, it was a physical gauntlet of firefighter survival (see my May 30 entry). This week it was a psychological game of cat and mouse: Incident Manager vs Fire. We instructors don't spare the students. Fire isn't polite or considerate. Even in simulation, we present the truth as we see it. The amazing thing is that, after tolerating a couple days of mind games and abuse, the students smile, shake your hand, and thank you for for the great weekend. If that isn't heroism, I don't know what is.

Training isn't all stress and strain though. Here is a slideshow of firefighters having a great time. It might not be training in the strict sense of the word, but I'm sure they learned a few things while having fun together.

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