Saturday, November 10, 2007

So What Exactly Do I Do?

(This is not a picture of me but a picture of the guys I work with. The FF in the red helmet is a captain and the FF in the yellow helmet is a driver or a firefighter. Note that his helmet is a dirty yellow not bright yellow. This tells us that he is not a brand new FF)
Mud has requested an explanation of what exactly it is that I do...
On our department there are three grades of FF in the station and several grades of chiefs in administration.
Firefighter-in the first year (or longer if you annoy someone) you are referred to as a 'rookie'. After that you are called a 'backend guy'. This grade is the FF who rides on the back of the fire truck, is responsible for catching the plug (hooking the hose up to the fire hydrant) and then going in to attack the fire with the Captain. On average one will spend 6-8 years in this position however there are FF who choose not to promote and will spend an entire career on the backend. Often you will hear this grade referred to as 'the best grade on the job'. You have no real responsibilities, the chiefs don't yell at you and you get to see a lot of fire. Experienced backend guys will 'ride out of title' meaning if the driver or captain is off they will fill that job for the shift.
Driver-some departments call this grade an 'engineer' or a 'lieutenant'. It is just what it sounds like. As a driver this FF responsibilities are to get the crew to the call safely and maintain and operate anything on the firetruck and in the captain's absence fill the role of captain.
Captain-this grade is the highest ranking grade in the station. He is ultimately responsible for everything his crew does. Some captains will move up and fill the Battalion chiefs position when needed.
I am a driver. I spent 10 years as a backend firefighter and really wasn't sure I wanted to move up. I loved my station. I was the highest seniority backend 'guy' so I very rarely rode the backend as there is always a need for an experience FF to ride out of title.
I tested almost two years ago and was promoted to driver about 4 months ago. I spent the last 4 months 'roving', not assigned anywhere and just filling in where needed.
I have just been assigned to station #20. 78th and Kansas Ave. Just south of I-70 on 78th. It is a very small station with guys I enjoy working with. My goal is to return to Station #10 in about a year when the driver of pumper #10 retires. It will be a job I will have to bid and there is not a guarantee that I'll be able to return but...only time will tell.


MUD said...

And we are all darned proud of you. MUD

Donna said...

I think I need to refer my dad to this post, DJ!...he totally grooves on this kind of info! Thanks for sharing... gb