Did you miss As the Kitchen Turns Part 1? Check it out here!
Every firehouse kitchen has a minimum of 4 types of firefighters.
Senior firefighters have forever been a fixture in the firehouse. There is always that “old guy” or the firefighter that everybody listens to when they speak. The guy the officers rely on during the hardest emergency calls or the mitigation of situations around the firehouse before they make it to the officer or admin levels.
The firefighters that have spent more time fighting fire and running the dreaded EMS calls have the ability to educate their brothers/sisters at the “house.” These folks usually hold the title of senior man or are unofficially known as such. These guys have the best stories too. The stories of fiery battles that could be in books, the hilarious stories of blunders and screw ups, and even the tall tales.
A story from a friend of ours at Station Pride, who is a “seasoned” firefighter shared with me;
” One story for you that’s still told on a regular basis at our house. I’m deathly afraid of snakes and the guys know it. They used to keep a rubber snake around the house to prank me with. They’ve put it in my guitar case, taped it to the back of my lap top so when I shut it, the thing jumps at me, They’ve laid it around corners, and much more . They don’t have it anymore, that I know of, because they pretty much made me pass out once, so they’ve calmed down on pranking me.
One shift a few years back was a pretty busy shift, busy enough we forgot some things at the grocery store for supper. One of the other guys does a lot of the cooking and it was getting close to time to start cooking. Their truck caught a run so myself, the Captain, and 2 others were in the kitchen trying to figure out what all was bought for supper. Well, just before the alert for the run came in, they were looking for a place in the kitchen to hide the rubber snake. When the alert came in, the guy with the snake ran into our walk-in pantry and threw it up on one of the shelves. While they were gone and we were getting ready to prepare supper, I asked the Captain where the potatoes were. He said that he believes they forgot them but that we had a half a box of instant masked potatoes in the pantry and we can just use those instead. So I went into the pantry to get the box of instant mash and guess where that snake was??? On top of that box! Another surprise was that the box of instant mash was actually never closed well when it was used the first time. Well, I reached up, grabbed the box, pulled it off the shelf, and here comes that snake. Yes, I jumped, yes I screamed, and yes when it was all over with, it looked like a blizzard just moved through our pantry because it snowed instant mash all over everything. Once the dust cleared, there was the Captain, almost in tears, even though he wasn’t in on the prank, nor did he know the snake was even up there, but it was on the floor, just outside the pantry door, and he knew exactly what happened. When the guys returned from their run, the story was told to them and it was marked down in the books as one of the funniest accidental unexpected pranks……in the kitchen at least.”
The kitchen allows the guys and gals to determine who they are working with. Who is in what mood, what is or isn’t the rookie doing, and learning about each other around the kitchen table. Can “the kid” cook or barely boil water? Does the Captain need more coffee or does the Lieutenant have a training idea? The family unit, like a group of men and women in a fire house, is molded around the kitchen and the kitchen table. Take pride in your firehouse, take pride in your family.
One of the only things in the fire service that is 100% guaranteed is that you will be faced with an opportunity to make a difference in somebody’s life at some point.
How you accept that challenge is up to you. The way you mitigate tomorrow’s situations is based, in part, on how you prepare today.
In my last article, “Junkyard Dog”, I talked about the attitude to get the job done, the step up and “do work, get shit done” mindset. But to have the confidence to “do work” you must drill the skills, and the information, of all aspects of the job, into your brain. Make your hands perform skills so much that it becomes muscle memory. You need the same “step-up and kill the objective” eagerness in training as you do on the fire ground or at the next MVA.
Beast mode is that gear you kick into when you need to get shit done now. Adrenaline dumps into your bloodstream. Your pupils dilate. Everything locks into place. Your Halligan placement is swift. Your sledge swings are loaded and on point. Beast mode is that intense focus, that massive groove where you’re inner animalistic nature becomes perfect execution. Heighten 6th sense, eyes in the back of your head, salivating, sweat shedding, target on lock, predatory beast-mode. You are the predator and the fire is your prey.
You must prepare, train, practice at the same aggressive and confident speed that you will perform on scene. The tempo of how firefighters train falls directly on their mentors and the men/women teaching. Training builds confidence. Our confidence in our abilities creates a sense of relieving hope in the citizens we have to help. Objective completion in a quick and effective manner resulting in every responder going home safe and the situational problem solved breeds pride in ourselves and our brothers. Which in turn creates a better attitude during the next training. Sounds like a never ending cycle of “get shit done” awesomeness right?!?!
Do work brothers. #beastmode