Firefighting is one of the most awesome professions out there. I have been very blessed to be one now for 25 years. Early in my career as a firefighter, I really wanted to become a driver/engineer. In order to do so, you have to drive the fire truck so many hours, pumped so many hours, to become eligible. We drove trucks with no power steering, 5 speed in the floor, and it was an open cab, When it rained you got wet, and we firefighters stood on the tale board while going to a fire, rain, sleet or snow. It was an awesome experience!!! Anyway, Each fire station back in the day, had a firefighter that would fill in for the driver just in case the driver was off on vacation or sick leave etc. Relief driving gives a firefighter experience behind the wheel and experience if needed driving to a fire call and operating the fire pump. On one of the first calls i had as a relief driver, it happened to be a fire. The engine I was driving was the second in engine and would reverse lay a 4 inch hose to the attack pumper and drive to the hydrant to supply water. As we responded to the call of smoke visible, I began to think of the options I had as a driver, hoping there would be a hydrant close to the house that was on fire. We arrived on the scene and my Captain said “Lay it Out.” The firefighters pulled the 4 inch and gave it to the driver of the attack pumper while I drove to the nearest hydrant I could see. As I arrived at the hydrant, I made all my connections to the hydrant and to the truck, when I heard on the radio “Give me some Water!!” So i charged the line and noticed to my “horror” water coming out of the 4 inch, flooding the road with the hose dancing across the road. I quickly shut the water off, and got my gear and ran to the attack pumper to see what went wrong. To my amazement there was a hydrant right in front of the house, but a car blocked my view of the hydrant. I thought I was connected to the attack pumper when I heard on the radio “Give me some water!” But in actuality the attack pumper driver was talking to the firefighter at the hydrant that hand layed a line about 100 feet to the attack pumper. I was never connected. No one ever took my 4 inch hose and connected it. It lay bare in the road. However the attack pumper got water quicker than I could have given, so all is well, but boy did i Hear it from the guys. I was the butt of the jokes for a while but that’s Ok, its just part of being a firefighter. The Assistant Chief told me that “If you don’t make mistakes that means you are not doing anything.” in other words your going to make mistakes in life, learn from your mistake and move on.
“10-97 Smoke Visible – Laying it Out!!!”