Saturday, October 8, 2011

Just In Case, 'Cause You Never Know

During my "one lap of Speedway" yesterday, I saw three members of the Speedway Fire Department enjoying the pleasant afternoon, sitting in front of the station. Don't be fooled by their apparent idleness: 
the station is spotless, the fire engines are gleaming and 
their equipment is meticulously maintained.

Firefighters as a group, seem to enjoy the kind of camaraderie and trust 
that few of us will ever enjoy with our coworkers. It is a special bond, one formed by fire or the threat of it. They work together, train together, 
and laugh together to form the kind of team 
us cubicle-bound drones can only imagine.

Each man's turn-out gear is carefully placed near the apparatus, 
close at hand for whatever alarm that may come. Due to the vast improvement in building practices and materials, as well as the establishment of building codes, there are fewer fires: well over one half the runs fire stations receive are actually emergency runs for reasons other than fire. As a result, most firefighters are now cross-trained and certified as emergency medical technicians and paramedics

There appeared to be miles of hose, carefully cleaned, 
flattened and coiled in every spare corner of the station. 
It comes in different sizes and sits tidily placed in racks, 
awaiting possible use for an event that no one wants to occur, 
but "just in case, 'cause you never know."

This is my favorite picture. I saw the canvas-clad figure 
lying on the floor and, of course, against all logic I briefly thought the men 
up front had left one of their cohorts sprawled on the floor. 
"Oh, pfft! you silly woman," I thought, "it's a training dummy." 
My more macabre side took over and I took pictures. 


dive said...

Fabulous post, Speedway! Great to see real heroes looking happy and relaxed between emergencies.
You took an awesome set of photos (and no doubt the guys enjoyed your company) but that first shot simply blew me away. At first glance I had no idea what it was. It screamed "Juke box" and "Cadillac" and "1950s diner" at me until I saw the checkerplate and the reflection of the red tender. You have such an amazing eye for seeing the unusual in the everyday and making real art out of things that most people would walk straight past. Thank you for starting my weekend with a "Woah"!

Speedway said...

You make me blush, Dive. Thank you. That picture is of the siren, posted on the left front bumper of the engine/truck. It's behind the head of the middle man in the 2nd picture.

It immediately reminded me of the pointy boob bumper on late 50's Cadillacs. And, boy, are those things ever loud! In a world where people are driving around with the speakers on their nasty-ass rap as loud as possible, on cell phones, or texting - paying no attention at all to whatever's around, these guys have to make all the noise they can, especially at intersections.

The concussion from the horns alone would drive you into the next county, but all the flashing strobe lights, the siren and the horns make the fire apparatus quite a spectacle as they move along the streets.

Then there's the sound of the engine, generators and air brakes when they're on a call. I took some pictures of the aerial ladder making a demonstration for some elementary school kids during Fore Prevention month last year. I'll have to dig those out for a post.

Maybe ask for a ride in the aerial thingy. Naw, liability's too great. They'll never let me.

Whoa, indeed!