Thursday, June 4, 2009

saved by the pager

Saved by the pager again. I've been studiously avoiding my desk for the past few days, taking care of other "important" business besides the paperwork. When I came back to my office after lunch and looked at the discombobulated pile of unfinished reports and records scattered in disorganized array, I realized that I could procrastinate no longer. I had to deal with it. Sigh.

Miraculously, right at that moment, my pager went off. Brush fire by the Firesteel River. You might not think it extraordinary, but if you had been anywhere within a hundred miles of here in the past week and seen the barrage of rain, snow, and foul weather we've been having, you would understand. How could anything catch fire in these conditions? But this was no time for questions, especially since I expected a cancellation page at any moment. I had an office to escape.

We hopped in the trucks and took off. Upsala firefighters to the rescue again. All emergency responses give you a bit of a rush, but wildland fires (if nipped in the bud) are actually kind of fun. We get to put water on fire and there are no injured people to peel out of mangled wreckage, or neighbours losing their home.

We scanned the horizon looking for a telltale smoke column. Nothing. We would have blown right by, except we noticed a group of construction workers waving us down. We stopped and found that they had extinguished all but a few smoulders. Of all the nerve.

After mopping up the fire and giving a report to the MNR fire rangers - who arrived later, and also looked dejected that the fire was out - we packed up and went back to the hall. We put everything back in service, and I went into my office. Now there was another piece of paper on my desk, foretelling at least half a dozen more to come in the form of a fire report. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.

I'm not much for managing bureaucracy, but if you want to see how a real firefighter handles it, click here.

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