Wednesday, February 11, 2009

And we're off

Last night was the first night of training for my recruit class, and I couldn't have been more excited. After sharing a sushi dinner with my brother in the parking lot of a local grocery store, I drove to the district office and found my classroom where all the other recruits were gathered. This part was everything I expected: "Welcome", this is the staff who will be teaching you, these are all the other recruits, everybody introduce yourselves, etc (after all, they wouldn't have us running into burning buildings on night one, would they?).

What I didn't expect was the meat of the lecture last night, which had nothing to do with fire, medical emergencies, hazardous materials, radios, chainsaws, big trucks, air packs, or anything else I was prepared to hear about; instead, we talked about customer service.

This is how you treat people.

This is how you DON'T treat people.

Soft skills? Really? No ropes, no hoses?

Not what I was expecting; but as it turned out, very interesting. We heard some pretty cool stories about things that firefighters have done in the past. They took care of a man's dog while he was in the hospital, cooked a families thanksgiving dinner in the station ovens after their kitchen caught fire, helped pack and move a families belongings after their house burned down. To condense it to a sentence, the primary job of a Firefighter is to "Do the Right Thing".

I don't have any gear yet; there are no lights on my car, no pager on my belt. It'll be a while before I can save a life. But I can start doing my primary job as a firefighter today, before I ever find myself on a fire-ground.

Who would've thought?

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