Well, I'm officially a Tisbury fireman now.
Went down to the fire station today for the Sunday 10:00 weekly meeting and radio check. Got the following equipment assigned to me:
- coat that weighs about a thousand pounds, covered with cool reflective tape
- pants, ditto, complete with red suspenders
- fireproof gloves that hook onto the coat
- bag to keep all this way-cool gear in
- pager so they can call me 24/7 whenever I'm needed to save the day, just like Batman
- nifty reflective "Tisbury Firefighter" thingy to put on my car above the license plate so everybody will see how cool I am and get the frack out of my way when I'm on my way to a fire
- a personal information tag (red) for me to fill out with information such as my blood type, next of kin, whether I'm an organ donor, etc; which is to be laminated and affixed to my jacket so that in case a goddamn building falls on me or something they can identify me and know who to call
Then came the cool part. Since the truck I've been assigned too, "Tower 1" is so giant fracking big (being the largest truck owned by any of the six towns on the island of Martha's Vineyard), it cannot fit into the fire station, so it's kept up at the vehicle barn at the Public Works Department a mile away, my company captain Russell, the the lieutennat Kenny (who is Russell's son) told me to drive up to the barn and meet them there. So I did.
And I want to tell you, that truck is SO FRACKING COOL!
The first thing Kenny said was, "this is your new toy". Then they put my bag with the fireman outfit in it in the cab, next to the other guys' kits. I'm really officially on the truck. Holy frack! I want to tell you the cab of that truck is itself as big as a whale.
Then we went around the truck and they showed me what's in all the compartments -- electrical cords, generators, hoses, ladders, axen, power saws specially designed for sawing through roofs, power saws specially designed for sawing through steel doors and girders, oxygen tanks, tarpolens, tools for ripping shit up and poking holes into flaming buildings, shovels, hydrant connector shit, valves, gauges, control panels, and a GIANT FUCKING TOWER LADDER THAT GOES 100 FEET UP. I want to tell you, I was geeking the frack out like I was atreides with some miniatures or mns with a gun or something.
They say that it will take me a couple of months of drills just to figure out where everything is on the truck, and for the first year or so I'll probably just be a gopher at actual fires --"go get me one of these" "go get me one of those." With a red tag on your coat you can only go to the staging area at and fire scene. After I've demonstrated to the captain & chief that I am not a fuckup, and after I've taken the beginning firefighter training, I'll be upgraded upgraded from a red tag to a yellow one. I don't know how many different colors there are & am not worried about it. I'm sure that there will be plenty for me to do. This is a seriously undermanned fire department. At the July 4th fire when these guys fought for 12 hours in 98F heat to prevent the whole damn town from burning down, only 34 guys were there. (Check out the photos in that article, by the way. Especially all the cool tower truck photos!)
But damn, in a few months time, I could be behind the wheel of that thing (which is larger than a battleship), screaming down the road, honking the air horn and blasting the siren. I mean, I'm not hoping for a fire; fires are actually very scary. But the next time a fire happens in this town, I'm going to it as a fireman. And I'll be riding in the coolest apparatus on this rock where I live.
It's been a pretty sucky couple of months around here lately. This is the niftiest thing that's happened to me in quite some while.
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