Despite my lack of blog articles over the past month, I have continued my internship into the school year. Here are a few interesting things I have done since my last post:
The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair is always a great opportunity for the Fire & Rescue Service to teach the public about fire safety and their services but it takes weeks of hard work to make it run smoothly. The firefighters and engines that attend have to be coordinated so there are still plenty dispersed around the county to run calls and that is no easy feat. My job was to help move box after box of literature and handouts to the fair. Once it was all set up though, it was worth it. The fair was very busy and we taught many people about fire safety. We also had informational fliers about the relatively new MC311 service in Montgomery County which people learned about. In addition to the information, we also drew out home evacuation plans with kids and practiced calling 911 on a simulator.
I took a break from the fair one day to do a ride-a-long with Assistant Chief McAdams who oversees the county during his shift, including personnel and significant incidents. Although the day started out slowly, we hit the road around lunch. After spending a few minutes at Fire Station 31, they got a call and we left too. Shortly after that, we went to a car collision and luckily there were only minor injuries.
This reminded me of the SGA's project last year at my high school about drunk driving and its consequences. It involved a scenario where a drunk driver had crashed his car and the jaws of life were used to extract him and his friends. They broadcasted the scene from the parking lot over all the TVs so we got to watch. Although they did not have to use the jaws of life in this collision, it immediatley reminded me of the SGA's spring project last year.
I also went to the Office of the Fire Marshal and learned about what they do, such as checking to make sure fire codes across the county are being followed in new buildings, old buildings, and in new communities. As a High School senior, I am applying to colleges this fall and the University of Maryland, College Park, is on my list. I have heard all about their Fire Protection Engineer program from many people in the Fire & Rescue Service and am looking into it myself. Another interesting day was spent with a Fire Inspector. Even though the follow-up visits to various small buildings in the morning were quick and easy, we did spend some time inspecting houses in a new community that was mainly not furnished or bought yet. With the increase in new regulations regarding sprinklers, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors, it is important to make sure they are being followed. Often times, a builder will try to get around something, such as not putting another sprinkler or smoke detector in a room.
One day I enjoyed was the one I spent at the Emergency Communication Center (ECC) – the place where our 9-1-1 calls go. Being able to sit amidst the computer monitors and see everything happen was very interesting, especially because I did not think I would be able to spend time with them like I did. Back in August, Bill Delaney and I went to a house fire with extraordinary circumstances and it took a lot of coordination from the people at the ECC keep everything running smoothly.
As the first quarter of the school year comes to a close, my friends with internships and I are now settled into our internships. In the second quarter of the school year, I hope to learn more about the different jobs in the Fire Marshall's office and to continue doing more ride alongs.