Your worst day is their everyday



Hose-spray can be refreshing. Lt. Kenny Stuart from Station 16 is behind me.

Friday was certainly one of the most unusual days of my life. I crawled through a blackened, smoke-filled building looking for survivors, climbed a ladder five stories in full firefighter gear, took the doors off a smashed SUV to get an injured driver out of the front seat, extinguished a burning propane tank, and much more.

These scenarios were all part of Fire Ops 101 in Richland, designed to show elected officials what firefighters are trained to do and what we expect them to do on a daily basis in mere minutes.  We were not passive on-lookers, not even close.  Dressed in full equipment and shadowed every step of the way by Lieutenant Kenny Stuart from Seattle’s Station 16 and Local 27, I experienced the need for well-trained comrades and used some of the critical equipment required  to shave time off rescue operations.

Five stories up, shouldering the requisite amount of safety gear.

They make it look easy but my aching shoulders and skinned knees tell a different story. Try doing CPR in a racing ambulance or carrying a chain-saw and other heavy tools up a ladder onto the roof of a burning building.  Try being part of a team rescuing a 350-pound victim from a confined space at 3am.

Kudos and thanks to all our firefighters. Your hard work and courage are things we take for granted until the very moment we need you.  I’m grateful for what you do and glad to have had the opportunity to witness your work first-hand.

Victim extraction is best done with the the help of a friend.

 

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