Girl on Fire: My education baby step is taken

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, November 6, 2014]

Ice crystals flickered in the moonlight against the black paint of my car as I left my house and threw open the car door. I tugged my turquoise hat down over my ears, started the car and pulled out of my driveway, trying not to speed on my way into Creston. The blare of my phone still rang in my ears: a 6 a.m. structure fire.

I managed to catch Engine 2 before it pulled out onto North Sumner Avenue. We raced to the scene on East Townline Street before jumping out of the apparatus, grabbing tools and running around to the back of the house with the rest of the guys on-scene.

This was my first structure fire I responded to as a firefighter and actually made it to the scene. Several times my truck was disregarded en route, so I had a thorough rush of adrenaline as I finally made it.

After writing down my thoughts in my column Oct. 27, I decided to continue my firefighting education. I spoke with Creston Fire Chief Todd Jackson, and got a fire essentials textbook and homework packet.

The adrenaline I felt as I ran up and down the driveway, had my blood pressure checked by Greater Regional Medical Center paramedic Chris Roberts and putting out embers in the burned-down garage restored my feelings of being the best firefighter I can be.

Being able to take firefighter II as a self-study is the perfect step for me to be better.

The longer I do this, get to know the guys at the station and respond to fire calls, the more I enjoy putting forth my time to help.

What most people probably don’t realize is how much work firefighters actually have throughout the day. It isn’t just about showing up to a fire, dousing the flames with some water, packing up and heading home. We have to know where all our tools and other equipment are located on each apparatus, the science behind how fire works and cleaning the trucks and equipment after getting back. There is also a lot of maintenance involved to make sure our tools are in tip-top shape.

Obviously, I love the adrenaline that comes with being on the fire scene. But, I also really enjoy the behind-the-scenes work because that’s where the knowledge and some of the camaraderie is built.

I also like knowing I am continuing to help the community of Creston. Creston is such a tight-knit community, and the hub of southwest Iowa, that knowing I can make a difference in such a place is placating.

Maybe, eventually, I can continue my firefighting education, and help the world, even more.

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