Friday, July 17, 2009

Cross Country

I just got back from a 2-week vacation to California with my wife, where we visited some family. While out there, it was nice to relax after the long recruit class I finally completed last month, but I also wasn't completely away from the fire service. Every city has a fire station, and ever since I've become involved in the service I've tried to visit them wherever I travel. I try not to make a nuisance of myself, but if there are firefighters outside who don't seem busy, or if I can see them hanging out in a dayroom, I'll stop to introduce myself and ask about the station.

So while on vacation this time, I happened upon a small station in a residential area of San Mateo where the firefighters were outside washing a couple very-nice looking trucks. After stopping and talking to them a while, I found that this was a unique station in that both of the apparatus had a specialty, one being the US&R (Urban Search and Rescue) truck for the area, and the other being an engine specifically tasked with carrying all the specialty equipment needed for a RIC (rapid intervention crew). I took a video of them both with my iPhone and have posted it below if you're interested.

I guess the really cool thing is how being part of my local fire department makes me also part of a world-wide community. These guys didn't know me, didn't have any obligation towards me, but took time out of their shift to show me around their apparatus and answer all the questions that I naturally had for them as a member of a more rural department. One of them was even willing to give me one of his personal duty shirts from the department to contribute to my brother's collection. It's the sort of instant friendliness that can only come out of a knowledge of similar experiences, and it's one that I am truly glad to have become a recipient of.

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