Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Daniel's Ride Along With the MCFRS Safety Officer

Waking up at 7:00 AM is bad enough but 5:30? That is unheard of. However getting up was a breeze as I had an exciting day ahead of me, or so I thought. The Safety Officer who oversees significant emergencies in all of Montgomery County, is stationed at the Chevy Chase fire station and allowed me to ride along with him to emergencies for a 12 hour shift. Even though a 12 hour day was longer than anything I had ever done, how slow could it go when you are jumping from one emergency to the next?

Out of the whole year, Tuesday was the day for the safety officer to go to the Fire & Rescue Occupational Medical Services. This is where all the personnel of the MCFRS go to make sure they are healthy and fit for work. As we entered with the mindset of it being a quick and easy visit, it was soon shot down as their equipment was malfunctioning. Almost two hours later, we had that obstacle behind us and were on our way back to the station.

When we got back to the station, I got a very interesting tour as it is one of the old fire stations. In Hollywood, every fire station has a pole that the firefighters slide down but that is not always the case. Many firefighters have gotten injured either falling or sliding down so it is rarely present anymore but they still have one at station #7. There is also a tower that was once used to hang wet hoses to dry but now it is used as storage for extra ones. After the tour, I sat down to watch TV as I anxiously waited for the siren to sound. As minutes turned to hours, it was already time for lunch.

After lunch, we went to the Public Safety Training Academy near my house that I have seen from the outside many times. As we drove around back, we noticed an experiment in full force. Two people from Good Morning America were filming the exothermic reaction that occurs when linseed oil is left to dry. It is amazing how a liquid can catch on fire just by drying in an oxygenated environment and it is important for the public to be aware. After spending an hour or two there, we were on our way back to the fire station.

With the day winding down and not one call, I was starting to wonder if I would ever get to see some action. As dinner was served, we were positive a call would come in right as we sat down to eat but to our surprise, it didn't. It is like it was announced that an intern was going to be with the Chevy Chase station and everyone should be extra careful so as not to give him what he came to see. As we finished dinner, it was time for me to depart and we were surprised that I had not gone on one call.

While it is a good thing there were no emergencies in the area, it would have been nice to see one. Hopefully there will be some more action if I get to do another ride-along. I thank the people at Fire Station #7 for their hospitality as I was there almost all day.

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