Saturday, April 15

Big Ones!

Every so often we get big fires. Big fires mean lots of work. They also make the shift fly by.

Today, I wanted one. Nothing serious, just big and easy. No chemicals or people involved. An old derelict single storey factory (no danger to crews) to burn down and create space for a new car park!

I know that sounds really strange. But today I was sat there, waiting. Like a coiled spring. Finger hovering over the phone system. Every minute feeling like an hour. Don't get me wrong, not every shift is like this. But when we have them I could cry!

Then I suddenly remembered the last time I had started wishing for something to happen......

It was a Wednesday afternoon. We received two calls to a large shopping complex stating that there was smoke issuing from the rear of the premise. Two fire engines sent and everything carried on as normal. We had a radio message from one of the crews 'Make Pumps 6'. As it reads, they wanted another 4 fire engines to make the total in attendance 6. (not quite sure why I felt the need to explain it!)

The work kicks in a 5 pumps. We have certain people to inform ranging from our Senior Officers to the Gas Board etc. It begins to get a bit busier and they then 'make pumps 10'. More people to inform. All the time we get keep getting updates from the incident, meaning updating everyone we have already informed. It keeps us busy and the next time I look at the clock, almost an hour has passed.

Unfortunately, everywhere else in the area we cover decides it wants some of this action and we have car fires, house fires, rtc's all over the place. We are getting to the stage where we are not sending what is required to other jobs as everyone is moving around to provide a basic level of cover.

Make pumps 15.

Then, all of a sudden we start getting repeat calls. This is over an hour after the original call. Not so unusual really. Fire + water = smoke. Big fire + lots of water = lots of smoke. People were calling from miles away. And even when we told them what we were dealing with and where, some of them still had to be convinced! Some just wanted to know what was happening. Some were on the top floor of a tower block nearly 10 miles away with a pair of binoculars, reporting that in a North Westerly direction from where they are there. Just for reference, in my opinion, if you can't give me the name of the road, or at the very least an area, please don't bother me. If its that big, someone else will tell me, who actually knows where they are. I don't know my North, West and Easts from my elbow and really haven't got the time to work it out in an A-Z - which incidentally we have to do. Part of the 'just in case its not the same fire' routine which always gets my eyes rolling!

The next time I looked at the clock was just before the change of shift. I sat back and realised that we'd been flat out for nearly 6 hours. I handed over to my relief and took me and my headset out of there! All the way home I was buzzing. It took a while to 'come down' from being so wound up. We had all been on auto pilot for the whole afternoon and its a strange feeling walking away from it all.

But the bottom line is..... I loved every minute of it. Being part of team. The sense of achievement. Putting pieces together to make the big picture. We worked well together to get the job done.

Today, I still love my job, although certain people make it really hard! Both internally and externally. But then I guess that's life. I still felt part of a team. I was ready and willing to do anything required of me. It just wasn't required today. Maybe tomorrow.


Voice on the Radio said...

I so know what you mean, as a police despatcher you long for something good to come in sometimes just to while away a slow shift but then when your in the mist of it making 100 phone calls and trying to keep those balls in the air, you end up flying home buzzing werily but thats the thrill and I wouldn't miss if for the world.

Country Cottage said...

That was an interesting read. Thanks very much.

Miranda Shuttleworth said...

The Bank Holiday weekend....

Phew - where did it go? I got my wish. In fact I got my wish ten fold!! Not just the one big fire, but several. Just as we were getting into the swing of 'Who am I?' as well....

can, worms, everywhere!!