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Questions firefighters get asked

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Kids ask a million questions, some of them cute, some crazy, and some are pretty good.  When you are a firefighter, people of all ages ask you a bunch of questions.  When you meet a new group of people, it is common to get the same questions over and over all night long.  Here are some of the common questions and some answers.

How can you go into a burning building?  Going into a burning building is not really that big of a deal to a firefighter.  I think some people confuse a burning building with a collapsing building.  We go into burning buildings all the time, but we rarely go into buildings that are about to collapse.  We practice all the time how a fire reacts inside a building, and we know what to expect.  We also train on the signs that a building is about to collapse, and we know the difference.

How does working a 24 hour shift affect your family life? Working a 24 hour shift can be a difficult adjustment.  There aren’t many jobs that keep you away from home for an entire day, evening, and night.  When it is your kids birthday, your anniversary, or any other special day, you will miss the ENTIRE day.  Many other occupations may work a shift on a holiday, but they are still home for a good portion of that day.  Working one day and being off for two days is a simple concept but unless you or a family member work that shift you wouldn’t understand.  There are also some great benefits to working that shift.  We can go to the zoo or to the lake on Thursday when everyone else is working and we get to spend a lot of days with the kids in the summer.  There are good and bad to the shifts, but the good things outweigh the bad.

How do you eat dinner at the firehouse? We eat at the firehouse the same as you eat at home.  There are many different situations.  Sometimes the station has a regular cook.  Sometimes everyone takes a turn.  In a few situations, everyone brings their own food and we eat on or own.  The best situation is a good cook who has the support of the entire shift.  That cook can be counted on to make something good every day that will make everyone happy.  A good cook is very hard to find.

What other calls do you go on besides fires?  The most common call other than a fire is a false alarm.  There are a lot of different causes for false alarms.  It could be cooking smoke, spiders in the smoke detector, or dust from construction that causes an alarm to activate.  We respond to these calls, find the cause and then reset the alarm system.  When false alarms become repetitive at the same location, departments may send a bill for service or require changes to the alarm system.  We also respond to EMS calls, calls for people locked out of their house, and occasionally we get called to get a cat out of a tree.

By John Morse

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