Week Five – Pushing The Reset Button

Monday, day twenty one, started off the typical 1.5 mile run, one minute of pushups and one minute of sit-ups then circuit training. I was appointed as “Chief 10”, who is the formal student leader for the week. Part of me had been looking forward to this week but at the same time the leader does not make any real decisions on tactics or what we will be doing. The “Chief” of the week mostly was set up to be a motivator to get everyone on track and to be the official lines of communications between the class and instructors.
“Hose Day” wouldn’t be the same without advancing hose lines and flowing water, so we did. This continued through day twenty two and my memory served me well, it was two tough days of humping hose with and without SCBA, up and down stairs, 1 ¾” and 2 ½” getting turnout gear soaked through and through which probably added another 20 or so pounds to all the gear we were wearing.
These were two very tough days. Even the most physically fit guys were whipped by the end of the day and were sharing about how hard it was for all of us. It was hard but I did all that was asked of me and never gave up. Hose day was one of the hurdles I was expecting to have a hard time with and I cleared the hurdle! It felt great to kick some ass with the young guys. Everyone did well.
I proposed to the class that we conduct a fund raiser for a firefighter from a surrounding county that had been hurt. First we thought of the ice bucket challenge. Then it changed to a “wash and rinse” with foam the following day. We eventually settled on a “Polar Plunge”. See day twenty five for the results.
Foam Fire Streams was the topic of day twenty three. We started the day with a very light run of just under a mile. We put the slowest runner up front to set the pace and took turns starting at the back of the pack, running up to the front, around the lead runner back around the back of the line and back to your own spot, running an entire circle around the entire line of runners. The purpose of this is so that everyone gets a chance to sprint as fast as they can and that we all run as a group to the speed of the slowest runner.
We spent most of the morning in the classroom learning about fire foams, its properties, uses, appliances, strategy and methods of application. After lunch we got to start throwing foam at the tanker and pit fire. We got more use out of the tanker and less use out of the pit due some technology issues. By the end of the day we flowed about 50 gallons of foam solution and everyone got a chance on the nozzle! A long hot day but finally the guys got to see some fire and flow some foam fire streams at it!
Day twenty four brought us a new routine for physical fitness training, a modified Spartan 500 workout. 10 Burpees, 10 pushups, 10 mountain climbers, 10 jump squats and a 100 yard sprint, repeated for a total of ten rounds. It was tough and I wanted to quit after just a few rounds but I didn’t want to be a quitter so I pushed all the way through the ten rounds. Danny came back when I was in the seventh round and completed them with me. I give Danny a lot of credit for his personal perseverance and helping me by not letting me give up on myself. It took me about an hour to complete this non-stop workout that totally exhausted me.
We spent the entire day inside the classroom learning about water supply, which suited me just fine. We have had a hard few days with fire streams and foam, not to mention the morning’s workout. I could tell that some of the younger guys had a rough time with the workout also. There were a lot of heavy eyes and even some of them were saying how sore they were.
Day twenty five started with the dreaded three mile run. Surprisingly I found that after the first mile or so the run started to become a little easier. My first mile was 11:05, the second mile was 8:51 and the third mile was 10:59 for an average mile of 10:16 and total 28:50. Just the prior week 11:20, 11:53 and 11:08 for an average of 11:28 and total 33:59
What happened to knock 5 minutes off my time since last week? Maybe attitude, maybe a faulty running app on my phone. Either way it motivated me. When I got back into the training grounds I saw the tractor tire that we have been flipping, leaning against the wall. It was leaning there like it was looking at me and saying, “You are done for the day old man”. It was like the school yard bully just leaning against the wall taunting me. So I walked over to the tire dropped it off the wall and flipped it across the concrete ramp and back to the wall. It was my way of saying that the old man still has it and can still kick your ass!
We spent the rest of the day on water supply training, doing forward lays, tanker drop tank drafting and dry hydrant drafting. I was the pump operator for the day since I was they only one with any real engine driving and pumping experience. Overall it was a good day. We all spent the day in bunker pants and gloves doing the drills. It was about 90 degrees going back and forth between full sun and overcast, everyone was beat. At the end of the day, as a class, we did the “Polar Plunge” in the portable tank. We dumped copious amounts of ice from the ice machine into the portable tank and filled it with water from the hydrant. Everyone stood in the tank arms over each other’s shoulders and made the challenge then dropped into the water!
This was probably the best way to end a very hard week and a very hot day. What may have been seen with a little skepticism in the beginning turned out to be a huge success. The guys didn’t want to get out of the tank. It was so refreshing and rejuvenating that it was suggested we do it every Friday to end the week. And we all kicked in some money to help the injured brother! It was a great way to end my week as Chief!

©Alden L. Doane 2015

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