Going to work day after day can get old, no matter what your job is. There are good days and there are bad days. There are a lot of things that can happen to make your day bad, but there are also some things that can happen that really make your day better than most.
1. A good fire really helps everyone get out of a rut. It doesn’t matter where you work, the truth is that the number of fires is going down. Some departments don’t see a real fire more than once a month. That means you might not have a decent fire on your shift for three months. If that fire happens to come when you have a day off, you have even longer to wait before you get to see some fire.
Everyone seems to want to be on the nozzle, but getting the nozzle doesn’t happen every time. I don’t mean to confuse anyone, we go on fires more than every three months, but what I am talking about here is a good structure fire, not a car fire, food on the stove, or a small fire in a garbage can. Getting a good working fire makes it a good shift, and actually can carry over for a couple shifts.
2. I hope you aren’t this person, but every department, including mine, have a couple of those guys that make me smile when they have a day off. Sometimes we know this jerk is going to be off and we look forward to it. Other times we get pleasantly surprised to find that guy, (or girl) has called in sick. I have had bosses that I wish would stay home, and also had firefighters I was supervising that made my day when they weren’t there. There are even a couple people so miserable that we don’t want to take the same day off as them. Why waste a day off if it will be pleasant at work since they won’t be there.
3. There are a lot of days when we aren’t excited about what we are going to do for training. I am not really a fan of classroom training, and I don’t like training that doesn’t resemble what we do at a fire. There are a few training things I really do like and when that is on the schedule, it makes my day. Water rescue, high angle rescue, and smoke mazes are some things that I really like to do.
4. Some of the best calls are those that challenge us, they are not the routine calls that we can do in our sleep. These challenges can be mental or physical. Finding the source of a strange odor can be challenging. What smelled like a burning rubber vacuum cleaner belt ended up being a very strong odor of a skunk. As the odor dissipated the burning smell was replaced by skunk odor, and yes we all smelled like skunk for a while. Car fires with magnesium engine blocks can be challenging to extinguish, and I have seen a few corn field fires that really wore us out. Challenges are fun for firefighters.
Maybe you will be lucky enough to show up for work and find out your least favorite person isn’t showing up, or maybe you will like the training. If none of these things happen to make your day maybe you can find something you can create to make your day and everyone else’s a little more fun.
By John Morse
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