Week Six – Pushing the Reset Button

Day twenty six was the third and last day of water supply. We made a field trip after the mile and a half run, pushups and situps. What impressed me more than anything else is that the instructor, Captain Jimmy Gasperson, ran with us, did pushups and situps with us and did better than most of the class despite him being in his mid-forty’s. I like it when an instructor shows us that he is not only willing to but able and does lead by doing. Half way through the academy and the Captain is the first instructor to actually lead physical fitness training rather than direct it. All of the class was talking about him doing what we did and how he was in great shape.
We visited both the City of Hendersonville water treatment plant and the City of Asheville water treatment plant. We then finished the day up with a review followed by our written test. I volunteered to give the class review while the instructor was at the main campus obtaining the tests. The class was receptive and I enjoyed the opportunity to fall back into teaching mode, something I have always enjoyed.
Day twenty seven and twenty eight started with another Spartan 500 workout which was still kicking my ass but I was doing it faster and feeling better afterwards. PT. was followed by a new instructor and a class on fire sprinklers. Fire sprinklers is not the most exciting subject and in fact you could probably call it a snoozer. Most of the guys were having a tough time paying attention and a few were down right unruly. At the end of the day I probably frosted a few nuts but it was needed and I called a class meeting and told the class that some of the behavior was downright deplorable. Yep, the old man did it and spouted off. It worked and all was good with the world the second day.
The second day, twenty eight, started with a three mile run. Then the fun started. We did just a little more classroom then out to the tower for some hands on with the FDC, sprinkler controls, flowing water and chocking heads. We were all in full turn out gear and got thoroughly soaked. It actually felt good to have all that nice cool water from the sprinkler heads running all over and down inside the gear. For the first time since starting the class we were working, not as hard as other days, but working none the less and NOT SWEATING!
The instructor was finishing up some of his paperwork and putting away his gear and gave us some time to review on our own. To my surprise the guys asked me to lead the review with them. I spent maybe five minutes in the front of the class before the instructor came in and I gave way to him. Before I sat down more questions were thrown to me and the instructor motioned for me to continue. I did for another minute or so then Thumper asked me if I had ever been an instructor. I said I had been and he asked me what I taught. I told them I had been a fire service instructor, EMT/Paramedic instructor, law enforcement general instructor with two high liability endorsements for police driving and medical first responder. Someone asked if I wanted to teach again. I had to explain that it really made no difference what I did in Florida, North Carolina would not recognize any of my experience. We took our test.
I have to make a comment on the physical fitness training we are doing. While I was not nuts about all of the running around, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and so on; I am finding it easier to complete the tasks and my recovery time is getting quicker. I am 57 years old, I am not a kid. When I can complete a Spartan 500 workout and not be in pain later that day or the next, I am pretty happy. When I do two 500 exercise challenges, two three mile runs and a mile and a half run within a week, not be in pain and be able to get through the rest of the day’s work like the kids, I am damn happy with myself. My body seems to be getting use to the exercise and adapting to it. Even my knee that I had surgery on just two months ago is not swelling.
Day twenty nine was a fairly light day with Loss Prevention, the old salvage and overhaul class. The instructor spoke mostly about salvage, as I will call it, and we did some hands on folding tarps for one and two man deployment to make chutes, pools and cover furniture etc. It was a great review for me as it had been a very long time since I had folded fire service tarps. Of course tarps today in most fire departments are the typical light weight blue poly tarps available at a home supply of department store, not the old canvas duct tarps that weight as much as a small Buick! We did deployments of the tarps making chutes on pike poles, ladders and generally setting things up to guide water down stairs, out windows and doorways.
Day thirty was the conclusion of loss prevention by tackling overhaul. Checking for extension of fire, pulling ceilings and walls while trying not to destroy the remains of the building and hauling out debris from overhaul. Of course this was all simulated as we did not have a house to work on. The chances are that we will be doing this at a later time during fire control and we have a few houses that we can work on.

©Alden L. Doane 2015

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