A Day in the Life
A Day in the Life of a Clayton Firefighter
Somewhere Between 0530 and 0600:
Yes, that's military time for 5:30 to 6 am - yes, AM. You jump out of your warm bed, pack your uniform bag for the day, brush your teeth and put on your workout gear. Double-check that you have your phone, pagers, and any books needed for training that day. You're about to start a 24-hour shift with the Clayton Fire Department - so hug and kiss your family (including pets) and get yourself down to the station - there's no telling what the day may hold.
0630: Arriving at Assigned Stations
As a firefighter walks into the station, he pulls his Turnout gear off the rack and places it near the Engine he will be working on today. Up the steps and into the kitchen he goes to get that first cup of coffee. As the firefighters come in for the day, they will all stop by the kitchen to talk with the off-going shift and to solve most, if not all, of the world's problems before 0700.
0700: Shift Begins
The Captain's job consists of getting all the paperwork set up for the day and receiving his briefing from the off-going Captain. The FEO (Fire Equipment Operator) or driver does the daily check-off of the apparatus to verify it is fully functional for the shift. The Firefighter places their gear in the right spot and checks their air pack and radio.
0730: Making a List and Checking It Twice
Between the on-duty Battalion Chief and Captains, they collaborate on the game plan for the day to ensure all duties are fulfilled, brief the crew, and assigns tasks. Everyone on the crew takes a detailed list and checks each and every one of the trucks, trailers, ATVs, and boats. This can take several hours and sometimes runs into the afternoon hours.
0900: Getting in Shape
After completing truck check-offs for the day, the crew takes a little time to get in shape. Today we played a pickup game of basketball, playing four games of "21", which lasted nearly an hour and burned who-knows-how-many calories. We then take showers and get in our uniforms for the day.
1030: Car Accident
We respond to an MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident), on NC 42 Highway west with two cars involved and one person injured. Rescue 1 arrives on scene and informs the station 2 crew they are not needed. Station 2 clears from the call and heads to the grocery store to pick up supplies for lunch and supper.
1100: Maintaining Our Fleet
The crew works on the air conditioning unit inside the cab on Engine 2. A filter was clogged with debris inside the unit, causing a backup of water. The crew cleaned the filter and the air conditioning unit was back to normal. After resolving the air conditioning issue, we began preparing lunch.
1200: Chow Time
Today for lunch, believe it or not, we ate healthy and had grilled chicken Caesar salad. We all ate our fill and sat around and talked for the remainder of lunch.
We responded to another MVA involving a vehicle flipped on its side and an occupant pinned inside. During this call, we had to use our cutting tools and spreaders to extricate the patient. With all the tasks that had to be completed to make the extrication a success, this took several minutes to complete. We return to the fire station and clean the equipment used and put it back in service on the fire truck.
The Captain completes the paperwork regarding the previous MVA and performs other office work while the rest of the crew cleans the fire station.
The pagers activated for the third time of the day and sent the crew to a patient having difficulty breathing. The patient advised the crew he was having an asthma attack and had misplaced his inhaler. At this time, the responding EMS (Emergency Medical Services) unit contacts Clayton Fire to say they are being held up by a passing train and they will have a delayed response to the scene. The crew continued to treat the patient with oxygen and albuterol to help with his breathing. EMS arrived on scene and transported the patient to the local hospital.
Administrative staff goes home and the crew prepares the meal for the night. This can take a couple of hours to eat, as most of the time the pager will go off just about the time the food is ready. A firefighter loves a microwave oven because most of the time our food is cold by the time we get back to eat.
The crews and additional personnel, including the rookies, attended training at one of the training houses on Robertson Street across from Fire Station 1. The training involves hand line deployment, MAYDAY drills, and search and rescue exercises.
After training, we return to the station to take showers and clean up from the day. Then we drink a little coffee and watch TV for a few minutes, then goto bed and wait for the next call.
We are dispatched to our fourth call of the day. This time it's an OB call (pregnancy). We arrive on scene just before EMS and are flagged down by a lady. We exit the truck and are met by a pregnant lady in her front yard. She informs us in a not-so-friendly way that she does not need you, me, or anybody but the paramedics and the ambulance. Being the gentlemen that we are, we help her into the ambulance and head back to the fire station for the remainder of the night.
Rise and Shine! It's time to get up. We make one more pot of coffee and wait for the oncoming shift to arrive. Once they arrive, we exchange any important information from the previous day and we depart to our second jobs or to head home and see our families.