Two years ago, I entered a new stage in my life. I had just finished firefighter recruit school, and I was heading to my assigned fire station for the first shift. I believe my first actual shift at the fire station was on Father’s Day. When I tell you, my crew and I worked our assess off on that Father’s Day.
We painted approximately ten fire hydrants. I ran my very first fire call at the Fish Market. It was hot that day and I got to experience what it was like to dress up in firefighter turn-out gear when the temperature is above eighty degrees outside.
Two years ago, on June 14th I graduated from Recruit School. I remember how challenging and physically demanding recruit school was for me. I wasn’t sure I would make the cut until my final physical fitness test. I will always believe I had divine intervention aiding me as I made my final run on the track.
Looking back, I remember the other guys in my squad. They helped me get through some of the toughest challenges during recruit school. It was two years ago that I realized I didn’t have a fear of heights, but I did possess a very strong fear of tight spaces. Claustrophobia was my second biggest enemy- running was my first biggest enemy.
I remember coming home to my boyfriend every evening and letting him massage my achy legs. I remember the countless nights I feel asleep with my head in a book. I remember the early morning formation twice a week where we would line up for inspection. Pressed pants. Shaved faces, or neatly pinned hair. Polished Shoes.
I remember thinking I would never make it passed my probationary year. All the toilettes I cleaned, all the times I screwed something up and wound up in the office with my lieutenant.
I can think back on the first time I wore my turnout gear and worked my first mass casualty incident. I remember the first time I encountered a severely burned patient, and what it felt like to hear that that patient died weeks later.I remember the sadness that shrouded the department when we lost our fire chief. And I can recall the uncertainty many of us had as we waited patiently for weeks and months for the announcement of our new department chief.
I can distinctly recall being part of a group of firefighters who were nominated for” Firefighter of the Year.” Though my group was not awarded the title, I still count it as a high honor to have even been nominated for such an award.
My fondest memory though, was the night I helped deliver my first baby. I remember being so grateful for the guys who helped carry the mother down the flight of stairs on the stretcher. I also remember being grateful to have another woman firefighter at my side. I know it was comforting to the patient to have two women assisting her, and being mindful of her modesty. That was probably one of my happiest moments.
Its hard to believe that I’ve been a firefighter for two years. I remember the faces of the men who endured the rigors of recruit school along side me. Technically, I only have 18 more years to go before I can retire. I have learned so much in the past two years.
I wanted to dedicate this weeks Fire-Medic Friday post to all the men and women who graduated recruit school on June 14, 2013. #31313