First Night on the department. Given Gear and showed how to put it on and wear a scott. I was told how to stretch a line and when to enter. 3 weeks later kitchen fire with extension to 2nd floor. Yep, I geared up, first on scene, LT said are you ready? I was I have a choice? lol in I went with him, we made the stop, went up stairs, and started ripping the wall apart for extension. Been doing this ever since. No propane controlled burn building to practice in then. Though safety dictates how we train today, I still loved learning on the job instead of a class room.

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You mean there was another way? These days everything is about safety this and safety that and while I have argument with being as safe as possible, if you pick roses for a living, sooner or later the briar is gonna get 'cha. Hopefully it won't be terminal but training in a "sterile" environment is akin to taking a shower with your clothes on. There's a certain amount of risk involved in this business and the sooner one is exposed to that risk the better in my opinion. Book lernin' is fine, so long as you can then apply that to the real world. Too bad no real fire call goes like "the book" said it would.
oh ya, plus I remember putting the truck in pump, charging the line, then leaving it out there while 3 of us went to work, we would come back out and check the water level, and about that time our tanker would be there,,phew!
When I first join the department I was in college for nursing and EMT. I decided to change to fire science. We did a lot of training off campus including live fire. OJT along with college was a breeze for me. When I did engineering that was strictly OJT and after the training was over we got a mutual aid call for a barn fire and I had to take the tanker out to an area that was hilly. and man that got to be scary since there was a lot of cars on the road.
Oh yea.First fire not long after i joined up.Had to search through the pile of stuff to find a pair of boots and a coat.Ended up going to the fire in a pair of 3/4 boots and a duck coat and a helmet of questionable vintage.A old pair of leather work gloves too.No hood,nothing fancy.Ended up on the vent crew then was a hose feeder and did some overhaul.This was only about 20 years ago or so.We have come a long way since then.
OJT on our tanker was "get it there in one piece".I can appreciate Louise's experience.Nothing like a 3000 gal. milk tank with no baffles.
we did a month of Training, But I will tell you this, My shift began 0800 Saturday morning, withing 28 minutes Of the start of the shift We were at A basement Fire in a single family dwelling.. Understand I'd been 15 years in the vollies before getting on the job.. which was a fairly busy 20 year Career. Pretty much the dudes hired before 1985 did OJT though..
Volly dept., showed up to a meeting and they voted me in, dug around in a cabinet and found me a pager, looked in the back of the station through the spare gear and found some that fit, then told me listen to the pager and show up. Went through a bunch of medical calls and accidents then got first structure fire. Third guy to show up and I'm told to pack up you're going in. Jumped in the truck and had the guy next to me packing up explain where everything went as he was putting his on. Backed him up on the line and loved every minute of it. After a year finally got my offical certs. This is something that we could NEVER do nowadays but it's one way to learn. I learned just as much from watching and doing as I did from the classroom.


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