Sunday, November 6, 2011

The proper time

It seemed like the ultimate statistical conundrum. What if we were paged at 01:15 hrs on November 6, and then again exactly an hour later (after the official change back to Eastern Standard Time). The second call out would also be recorded at 01:15 hrs on November 6 . . . even though it happened an hour later. Such an occurence would be inconceivable in the mathematically rigid world of chronological record keeping.

I was nearly convinced that the problem was unsolvable until Erinn suggested that I would simply write "EDT" or "EST" after the notation to clarify the proper chronology in the annals of dispatch history. Come to think of it, busier departments deal with this issue every year at the fall time change. Only fire chiefs that live on the peripheral edge of the universe (who have never been paged during that one-hour time period) even give it a second thought.

Speaking of time-related puzzles, the village of Upsala lies in Central Time Zone, but we operate on Eastern Time because most of our business is done in Thunder Bay. This can cause complications even without the convoluted spring-forward, fall-back shenanigans we play twice a year. All points west of Upsala lie firmly in Central Time Zone, but I record our calls in Eastern Time regardless of direction. I had a mildly heated discussion once with a police officer about our page out and arrival times at a fatal crash. My notes just didn't jive with her notes. Fortunately one of us finally figured out that she was running on Central Time and I was running on Eastern.

On a semi-related topic, I'm told that many years ago a municipality near here chose not to adopt Daylight Savings Time because they thought messing with daylight might cause the tomatoes to ripen more slowly. Council's discussion of the matter is reportedly recorded in all its paradoxical glory in the archived meeting minutes.

To finish off this downward spiral to incongruity, John Lennon's tooth just sold for $31,200.00. If I ever become famous, I'll have to remember to will my teeth, hair, and fingernails to my kids so they'll have a rainy-day fund in case times get tough.

I'm not quite sure how a supposed firefighting blog digresses this far into absurdity.

In an effort to redeem myself, here is a post by the Fire Critic that gives a short history of Firefighter Close Calls, and the Secretlist. Check out the Firefighter Close Calls Facebook page here. I've been a Secretlist subscriber, and a Billy G admirer for a lot of years, and my respect for this fire service icon increases the more I learn about him. I wonder how much his teeth will be worth in fifty years.

To finish off on a sane, normal note, check out volunteer firefighter Jennifer Mabee's blog over at Firefighting in Canada. A new perspective from the volunteer service is always welcome.

You may not find volunteer firefighter teeth on the auction block in fifty years, but life would not be the same in 80% of Canada's landmass without them.


  1. At the hospital Aaron works, they have to turn off the electronic charting system for an hour, then turn it back on, when the time changes.

  2. Ha. So the Upsala Fire Chief isn't the only one that thinks about the time change dilemma :-).

  3. Big Sister checking in to ask when you are going to write that book--the one that's full of stories such as these? You know it's NaNoWriMo right this very minute...


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