Thursday, December 2, 2010

Crossing the line

Firefighters obligingly respond to all manner of incidents, serious and trivial, sad and hilarious. Later, in the comfort of the hall or our homes, we shake our heads at the trivial or hilarious calls, but we never, never make light of someone's real or imagined emergency. The cat in the tree . . . the chimney fire that wasn't . . . the fiery head on collision that turned out to be a mere fender bender with a little smoke . . . were all in a day's work.

Of course it can be the other way around too, so the bottom line is this: if you think you are having an emergency, call us. In spite of my previous post on how not to dial 911, we don't mind arriving to find out that you've got it under control. We may be secretly disappointed that you didn't leave any of the fun for us, but we will be quick to say that you did the right thing by calling.

[Side note: this does NOT apply to motorists who speed by parked cars and dial them in as vehicle crashes. Remember the rule you learned as a kid crossing the street? Stop, look, and listen. Same rule applies to dialling 911. If you don't, we reserve the right to make fun of you. After we get back to the hall, of course.]

There are limits to our amicability. A lady in Pennsylvania definitely crossed the line when she set fire to her house because she was locked out and thought firefighters could let her in. She may not have realized what we do to doors. Some firefighters might have fancy lock picks, but many rely on the tried and true haligan bar . . . or a size 12 boot. We'll get 'er open alright, but the door will never be the same.

We don't always smash and crash our way in though. The rule is 'try before you pry.' I remember being reluctant to kick in a door at a cottage fire once. The seasonal residents were not home, smoke was puffing at the eaves, and none of the neighbours had a key. Time was definitely not on our side (it never is), so the size 12 boot was applied, the door frame split open and we knocked the fire down. Two minutes later a helpful neighbour showed up . . . with a key.

Speaking of fires, Pittgirl's husband's restaurant caught fire Wednesday morning. Pittsburgh is a long way away from Upsala, and it really has little to do with my blog, but Virginia Montanez is a talented blogger, and has helped raise thousands of dollars in support of sick kids. If there is anyone out there in bloggerland that lives close enough, she could use your help now.

On a less gloomy note, don't mess with firefighters!

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