I had no idea it had been this long. Nearly 2 years. I am not sure why I stopped blogging now.
Tired? Writers block? Hard to say.
Things have sure changed in my life since my last blog entry. I am no longer at the Mill FD. I took a job in an office closer to home with sensible hours.
I don’t miss the crazy stress of the mill administration, but I do miss going on calls and the guys I worked with. I am on the county Haz-Mat team, which is interesting for sure.
I have no idea what I am going to write about but I know that I do plan to write. I still teach and still love it, so classroom stories may be coming.
Anyway, I hope someone may still have me bookmarked and will see this LOL
Well, it is time for another academy class! The new recruits are looking pretty determined.
I have taught a few times already and have identified the class clown, smart ass, and sandbagger already. They have finished a few weeks and are getting the swing of it pretty well. The class fastest time for donning gear and SCBA is 1:04 so far, but that was without turning on their air.
The next class I am teaching them is fire extinguishers. Then fire protection systems.
The mill is going to let me hold those two days at our training center and supply the extinguishers and all the systems props we have also. They should be good classes.
work has been pretty rough lately, with me pulling a 64 hour shift and a 40 hour shift the last two weekends. Mind you, our shifts are supposed to be 8 hour shifts! So, I am a lot bit fatigued by it all.
hopefully it won’t happen again!
Sometimes we think of a situation a certain way and can’t see our own part in it until someone from the outside comments on it.
Work here at the mill has been crazy to say the least. We are all working a ton of hours, and fatigue is the order of the day. We have gotten some new blood in here (finally) and what one of them had to say struck a nerve with me. He basically said change I’m attitudes and behaviors can be started by just a small thing.
Well, who should be doing the positive changing? It needs to start at the Captains. Which means me.
I have allowed myself to get as beat down and disgruntled as anyone here lately. Feeling sorry for myself and all the hours and such. It is high time I did something to start improving things on my shifts.
Now I just have to find a good way to do that.
Any ideas? Team building?
I am sure it goes without saying that there are a lot of folks locally hurting from the loss of Asst. Chief Middlebrook. There are also a lot of rumors and speculation flying around about what all happened that night.
I for one will be very interested to learn what NIOSH finds. We need to refrain from repeating rumors that may or may not be accurate. We need to get the facts and then learn from what happened and improve our own departments training and readiness.
That is the best way to Honor Jaime Middlebrooks memory.
Every night n midnights we test FA Boxes in the plant. The list varies, but every month we visit every box in the plant and throughout the year we test every remote on every box. It is tedious, but you get to know where everyone of them are located, which helps a lot when one rings in!
For all of you that don’t work in industrial FD’s, this may seem strange. We can’t get any help. New hires. Firefighters.
Yeah. Weird huh?
So, the few folks we have left including me ( we are now below 50%staffing) are exhausted. Fatigue is the order of the day. I find myself having to beg the crew to just complete the minimums each day. They have no fear of discipline, they are to valuable to fire or even give days off to. They WANT days off. What threat is getting sent home for insubordination when they are working eighty hours a week? That sounds to them, as one guy put it, a vacation day!
So, we soldier on, feet heavy with weariness, as we muddle through each shift. Anyone need a job? E-mail me if you are serious. We need the help!
Well, it has been 6 months since I went back to the mill FD. I am working so many hours its not even funny. I was replaced as the Manager and am back to being a shift Captain.
It may have prolonged my life getting demoted! I was having migraine headaches every day from the stress put on me between the problems with taking over the contract as a new company and the myriad of failings of the staff. It was no fun taking the verbal beatings from the client for all my miscreants misdeeds.
As a shift Captain, I only have to hear it for what happens on my turn instead of all of them and I get the opportunity to correct issues before they hit the desks upstairs. Saves me a lot of grief. But then there are the days like today, where I was supposed to leave at 0800 and didn’t make good my escape until nearly 11am! Poor security report writing by one of my officers, coupled with a mind that is as fatigued as I have ever been (Even worse than Marine Corps bootcamp!) resulted in a 30 minute phone call where I was told in detail every little thing that was wrong with the report. I believe one phrase used was, Ï expect a little more Dick Tracy type investigation, not school crossing guard!”. The client has a way with a turn of phrase.
So, now when that officer comes in for his afternoon shift, he has to completely rewrite the report from start to finish.
Nothing ever seems to be good enough, and the client has said that when we don’t hear any feedback, the report was ok. Nothing like positive reinforcement, huh?
That my friends is why we only have two full time shift Captains instead of four. That sort of thing is why we can hardly get anyone to come work here. That is why we are so short staffed.
Ah well, I asked for it!!
Well, now that the Instructor class is behind me, I have started teaching at the next recruit academy class.
So far it has all been Haz-Mat classes. Indiana now requires Haz-Mat Awareness and Operations as a prerequisite for firefighter 1/2.
So, we have been talking about methyl ethyl death and brown and blue canaries for the last two weeks! Next week, after the turkey day break, we will do all the skills, and then the skills testing. After that we will be on to the fire 1/2 sections. We have over 30 in the class so far, with about two thirds of them being completely new to the fire service.
I am sorry it’s been a while, but I took over as the manager/Chief for the mill FD/ Security on the first.
Things have been crazy busy, and I hope that things will smooth out here soon! I did get my new white helmet “wetted down” on a slab hauler fire last week, so it’s not ALL paperwork!
More to come soon!
Well, it has been more than three years since I left the mill FD as a Captain.
As of January 1st I will be returning there as a Captain! I am excited to resume this role, and I am looking forward to leading firefighters again.
I will post more as things progress, but for now I have a lot to do!