Last time, I posted part one of an interview with my firstborn son and home school pupil who happens also to be a firefighter, which you can read in An Oklahoma Firefighter Spills To His Homeschool Teacher. Today, we’ll continue where we left off.
Danni: What is one of the benefits to being a firefighter?
Son #1: Well, I get to help people during the worst day of their lives sometimes.
Danni: What is the biggest drawback?
#1: The sacrifice my family makes because of my schedule. (He’s on duty 48 hours, off duty 48 hours, even if that falls on holidays and weekends.)
Danni: You told me last week one of the things you enjoyed most was teaching the youngsters about fire safety as your alter-ego, Ducky, the clown. What is one of the things you like the least?
#1: Stopping natural gas leaks.
Danni: What are some of the dumb things people do to start fires?
#1: Use pennies in their fuse panels and aluminum foil in the microwave, stuff like that. Usually alcohol is involved in dumb fires.
Danni: My opinion of arsonists is very low. What is yours?
Danni: What is your advice to arsonists?
#1: Don’t get caught.
#1’s kids, Roper and Ladybug, giving the guided tour
Danni: Would you want your kids to become firefighters?
#1: (grins) Maybe Ladybug. She’s pretty tough.
Danni: (laughs, but is secretly praying #1 is not serious) Indeed, she is. Okay…I know you firefighter types are trained in all kinds of stuff. What is some of it?
#1: Basic CPR and first aid. Also operating the Jaws, conducting fire drills in the schools from head start to high school, rescue diving.
(Jaws Of Life cuts people out of wreckage)
Danni: All the firefighters donate a lot of time to causes and the community. What are some of the causes?
#1: Toy drive for the kids at Christmas, teaching fire prevention in the schools, raising money for the MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) and Relay for Life.
The firefighters’ ipad
Danni: I know you had to pass Firefighter l and now you’re almost certified to teach that yourself, but what are some of the qualifications firefighters must meet to get on the force?
#1: (grins) You have to be handsome and studly.
Danni: (rolls her eyes) Oh, brother.
#1: Well…You have to pass a physical and stress test. Some agility requirements.
The full-time firefighters’ gear. #1’s is the slot with wrong way sign upside down above it. I don’t know what it means.
Danni: Y’alls bunker gear is heavy. How much does it weigh by the time you’re all suited up?
#1: About fifty pounds with our SCBAs. (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus, which has an air tank)
Danni: Will your bunker gear burn?
#1: It’s made of heat resistant material, but it’ll burn if it gets hot enough.
Danni: The nineteen firefighters who died in the Yarnell Hill Fire tragedy in Arizona this summer deployed their personal fire shelters to no avail. Do y’all carry those? (The fire shelters are aluminum, silica, and fiberglass tubes to crawl inside which deflect radiant heat, convective heat, and embers, as well as trap breathable air.)
#1: On the grass trucks. (The trucks used to fight grass fires in the country.)
Danni: What are the most dangerous kinds of fires you go out on?
#1: Any fire involving petroleum fuel.
Danni: What types of fires do you mostly attend?
#1: Grass fires and gas meters.
The volunteer firefighters’ gear
Danni: Our rural fire departments rely heavily on volunteer firefighters. In fact, Oklahoma State Fire Marshall, Robert Doke was on the radio a few days ago saying seventy-five percent of all fire departments in Oklahoma are manned by volunteers. Does this fire department have trouble getting enough volunteers?
#1: It goes in spurts. Sometimes we have plenty, sometimes not enough. Right now, our roster is nearly full.
Danni: What do you see as some of the biggest needs for our rural fire departments?
#1: More money for salaries and equipment.
The firefighters’ bunks
Ladybug and Roper in the kitchen area
Danni: I’ve heard the fire station is haunted. I could almost believe it when we toured the deserted living quarters on the second floor a few years ago. Is that creepy CPR dummy still up there?
#1: (grins) Probably.
Danni: Do you think the station is haunted?
#1: No. I hear some strange noises, but I think people say the station’s haunted because the building used to be a funeral home. And there’s a gravestone in it, too.
Charlie, the only unclaimed body from the Babbs Switch school fire, a local tragedy.
#1: There’s a blood drain in the kitchen floor.
Danni: (growing pale) No, there’s not, either.
Blood drain plug from the old funeral home.
Danni: Well, that’s just too gross. Moving on. Have you ever rescued an old lady’s kitten from a tree, and if so, did you use the ladder truck?
#1: (grins) Actually, yes, I’ve rescued a cat, but I had to go home and get my own ladder.
Danni: Do you have a firefighter’s joke to end with?
#1: Sure. There’s this firefighter that needs brain surgery, so his buddies search around for used brains. The first ones they find are from a firefighter for $10,000. The brains aren’t a bad match, but they decide to keep looking.
The next brains are from a captain. These brains are a pretty good match, too, but they’re $50,000, so they keep looking.
Finally, they find some fire chief’s brains, but they’re $100,000 bucks!
Somebody asks, “Good grief, how come the fire chief’s brains cost so much more than the firefighter’s?”
“Because the fire chief’s brains have barely been been used!” is the reply.
(Sorry, Chief Lankford. Please don’t fire #1.)
Danni: Oh, hee hee, my goodness. Well, thank you so much, #1, for the excellent interview and the service you provide the community. I deeply appreciate all you firefighters out there. God bless and keep all y’all safe.
Learn more about volunteering as a firefighter in Oklahoma by calling 1-800-FireLine.
*Any mistakes in this interview are mine alone. My cryptic notes written in my chicken scratch handwriting baffle even me.
Until next time, God bless and enjoy Legacy Five tearin’ up Joy, one of my all-time favorites.
*These artists don’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just love ‘em.