Monday, March 2, 2009


The last pic on A-shift's post yesterday was of the snow coming down. Our area forecasters didn't have a clue how much or how little we would get ... one even said to just look out the window when you wake up and you'll know what happened. That's the most honest forecast we've had in the valley for some time. Well, it looks like the heaviest part of the storm hit south and east of us so this morning, C-shift arrived to a disappointing 3.5 inches. We were hoping for something more like a foot or so. As far as I'm concerned, it could snow bunghole deep to a giraffe but we work with what we have. Anyway, below is a few pics of the snow. One from across the street, looking at the front of the station and the other of A-shifter Jerry Franks cleaning his truck off at shift break.

It'll take more than a little 3.5 inch dusting to slow the C-shift diesel down so it was straight to work. Even with the small amount, there are several things to accomplish and consider when working our profession in this type weather. The first is as Capt. "by the book" Wines always says is SAFETY. Safety of the members and in these temperatures, that means dressing properly. You loose a lot of heat through your head so it's very important to wear your hood or a hat. Always leading by example, the Capt. wore his "special..when it's really cold and windy hat". At first, the boys laughed and made some crude "pilot to bombardier" jokes, but after seeing that the Capt. places safety before fashion, their attitudes changed. He then made sure every member had a "cold weather bag" on the truck. That's a bag with an extra set of dry cloths and always includes gloves and socks.

Next, we had to ensure our "War Wagon" and station were ready for a response. Unlike some newer more fancy models, our baby is not equipped with throw chains. We have to manually put chains on the monster Good Years. The brothers of A-shift got that call yesterday while the snow was falling and had the chains in place upon our arrival this morning. For us, it was just a good check of the chains to make sure they hadn't come loose or broken a link. Bug performed our normal "Monday Checks" and she was ready for battle. We then turned our attention to the station and snow removal. The boys shoveled the front pool and side walks. Yea...SHOVELED. I suppose a newer "state of the art" or "green" station most likely has some sort of automatic snow removal system and catch basin in place but here at the rock, all we have is a "ghetto backhoe" aka a SHOVEL. With record low temperatures expected for tonight, any snow or slush left on the pool would soon be ice and with us having a "back in" vs. a "pull through" station (like the above mentioned hotel station), ice at the doors is not a good idea. We do owe some thanks to our brothers from the Southside. Chief Beckner was able to assign a man to one of our "service trucks" that is equipped with a snow plow. "Snowbird" Adam Flemming from "The Big Show" Station 1 made his rounds from station to station cleaning the lots. And what a fine job he did. Who better to push snow than an actual "Snow Bird"??

Roanoke's street crews were out in force scraping and cleaning our streets. With as much benefit as this is to all of our "heads up their a**" drivers, sometimes it can hurt firefighting efforts. When pushing even small accumulations of snow towards the curbs, hydrants can easily be covered (partially of fully). Nothing like pulling up to a hydrant and finding it buried in snow or frozen slush with nothing but a hydrant wrench in your hand. Always thinking ahead, C-shift added another tool to our hydrant connection tool bag...a shovel (ghetto backhoe).

It wasn't long and we were squared away. Just as quick, the runs began. The stations that run Interstate I581 were busy early with fender benders and wrecks. There was also a "working fire" on the Southside today around 13:19 for our brothers over at Stations 6, 11 and 1. A few false alarms and EMS runs for us but other than that, almost quiet. Sometimes, the quiet is more stressful than actually running the know it's coming, you just don't know when. Some members handle the stress better than others. What's worse, is that if you forgot to take your meds (ie. Ritalin) then that just adds to the anxiety. Obviously, Tyrone has NOT taken his meds today. This is how he decided to answer the 18:00 red phone test..

We also heard today that we may have upset our brothers down at "The Big Show". If you've been following our postings, C-shift's last one titled "Surprise" opened with a content "WARNING". In that warning, we provided some alternative links for those who may find the posts contents offensive. In our haste, we neglected to include station 1. So just in case THIS post wasn't BORING enough for you, check out the link here for an even more BLAND experience. Haha ... all kidding aside, make sure to keep up with all of our local station blogs ( #1, #3 and #6). Everyone has done a really good job of representing our members, stations, Battalions and Department. We'll close for now with a really cool pic we snapped this morning after raising Ol Glory. Note the engraving across the top of the station. To all our brothers and sisters out there pulling a tour tonight.. BE SAFE!!

Post Script It was mentioned above, that the cold weather calls for "special" attire to be worn. It was said to keep you warm and toasty in the coldest, windiest, and most frigid conditions that March could send our way. Some of us believe this accessory is actually used to assist in rapid transport to a much warmer climate. We've located the following diagram that shows just what we mean. All kidding aside you can always count on Captain sporting a one of a kind hat that seems appropriate..... some how, some way.


Anonymous said...

Is that a city hat?? I sure would like to have one of those Gomer Pyle hats.

Anonymous said...

First it's mustache envy now it's hat envy .. for "pete's" sake