By John Morse
It’s a part of the job that we don’t really like, but there are some things we can do to make it a little more tolerable spending the day away from your family.
When we work Holidays we usually don’t have to deal with any of the training, fire prevention, or vehicle maintenance tasks that take up a lot of the hours of a shift. Call volume on Holidays is pretty unpredictable, and 24 hours with not a lot to do can be pretty tough. Not having much to do sounds pretty nice, but if you are at the station while your family is out having fun, that day can really drag.
I have had some pretty nice Holidays at the fire station. Of course we eat a lot, and hopefully we eat some pretty good food. One way to feel a little of the holiday festivities is to spend time together making your meals a little more special. Try having everyone make a part of the meal, instead of one guy doing all the cooking. Combining efforts is kind of nice on a holiday; it gets everyone together in the kitchen. When each person is responsible for a specific part of the meal, you get a little extra care. Even if you have a great cook divide up the meal to get everyone involved.
Some recreation mixed into the day can help pass the time. If you have some really old guys they might be able to show you how to play cribbage. I never could figure out how to keep score in a cribbage game; 15 two 15 four and 6 makes a dozen? There are a lot of popular cards games in the fire station, and sometimes you might find board games like Monopoly, backgammon, and yes even the traditional checkerboard.
Sitting around the table eating and playing games can get a little dull after a while, so maybe get the group up and go play some ping pong, basketball, or maybe workout. An old fashioned game of whiffle ball helped us get through a Christmas one year. Even if it’s cold outside you can find room on the apparatus floor to squeeze in a whiffle ball field. Dartboards, remote control cars, and helicopters, have also made for a day of fun on a holiday.
Probably the best thing you can do if you are working a holiday is to be grateful for what you have. Sure you are spending the entire Christmas holiday at work, but there are a lot of people spending the day at home, alone. Be grateful that you have a job; lots of people would like to be working. How you survive working the holiday will depend mainly on the attitude you bring to work with you. Instead of being negative bring a little cheer with you and share some positive energy. There are thousands of people that would die to have the job that you have. When you walk through the door of the station this Christmas morning take a minute to remember all those people not as fortunate as you. You might be spending the day working, but it could be a lot worse.