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May 22, 2012 – I had my suspicions that this weekend would prove to be a busy one and it turned out to be true. I worked Saturday and Sunday (I’m one of three municipal law enforcement officers and we work out of the fire hall) which meant that I was around for calls through the day.

May 22, 2012
By Jennifer Grigg

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May 22, 2012 – I had my suspicions that this weekend would prove to be a busy one and it turned out to be true. I worked Saturday and Sunday (I’m one of three municipal law enforcement officers and we work out of the fire hall) which meant that I was around for calls through the day.

Saturday, the Fire Chief (who is also in charge of the by-law department) and I were out on Go Home Lake for most of the day doing enforcement patrols (rough life, I know). But I’ve got to tell you, it wipes you out when you’re out on a boat all day. A little too much sun and not drinking enough water, and I was a bag of nails by the end of the day.

Thank goodness the pager didn’t go off on Saturday afternoon.

However, Sunday morning the pager went off at about 4:20 a.m. for an MVC. I got up to reset my pager and got right back into bed. I was dead tired and nursing a headache from the sun and being on the water on Saturday. Then a second set of tones went off. I reset my pager again and crawled back into bed. Not going. I further justified my not going by the fact that I had to be at work for 8:30 a.m., and I’d be lucky if I had time to get back home to shower and change and get back out to the hall in time. Just for the record, I now have an extra uniform in my office should a similar thing happen in the future.

Call number two came in just as I was about half way through my lunch. It was a propane leak that turned out to be a tank self venting due to the heat. Nothing serious but even the short time we were in bunker gear seemed like too much for a day that hot. The best part of it the call… driving the pumper. I totally admit it. I get a kick out of it. C’mon, really, who doesn’t?

Our third call came in about 4:20 p.m. I happened to be standing outside the fire hall talking to a fellow firefighter while he changed the tires on his car. (I’m so helpful! Lol.) Sure enough, tones go off again, this time for a fully involved vehicle fire. And I thought it was hot at the last call? This one involved full bunker gear and B.A., and a flaming pickup truck.

On the way to the call our District Chief informed us that it was 32 degrees. I’m sure it was at least 42 degrees in my bunker gear while I was backing up the firefighter on the nozzle and dragging the hose. Man alive! I couldn’t get out of that gear fast enough when we were done.
As we dressed down and sat on the back of the rescue truck drinking water, I couldn’t help but notice my pulse thumping for what felt like forever. Made me realize how important it is to keep well hydrated before you end up at a call like that.

While we were finishing up at the vehicle fire, the tones went out for a brush fire in another station’s area. Fortunately for us, it only meant returning to our hall and staying on standby.

Maybe I should have said fortunately for me, because when we returned to the hall, I walked over to the rack to put my gear away and Mr. Oakley Sunglasses took one look at me (hair all over the place, face all red) and just laughed.

It ain’t glamorous, but it’s a helluva job!

Jennifer Mabee is a volunteer with the Township of Georgian Bay Fire Department in Ontario. She began her fire career with the Township of Georgian Bay in 1997 and became the department's fire prevention officer in 2000 and a captain in 2003. She was a fire inspector with the City of Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services before taking time off to focus on family, and is excited to be back at it. E-mail her at jhook0312@yahoo.ca.


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