Special: A Day in the Life of a Firefighter
ALWAYS HERE, ALWAYS READY, SERVING THE COMMUNITY OF LEHIGH ACRES
Special to the Lehigh Acres Gazette – Photos from Lehigh Acres Gazette, Facebook, and or the Fire Dept.
A fireman’s life is something more than driving that big red truck and spraying water on a fire. He or She is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, always ready to risk their life to save others in times of disaster. As Lehigh Acres seen many times over the years: Fires in 2005 and 2006 and now 20
Many people still maintain the vision of firefighters sitting around the table at the firehouse, playing cards, and or checkers or just watching TV, waiting for the next incident to transpire, but that’s not true these days.
Beneath the helmet and behind the protective equipment is a person, whose daily life might seem to be one of leisure, waiting for a fire or medical call. Actually, a fireman has very little spare time. When they’re not battling a fire or on a medical call, cleaning, scrubbing, polishing or studying; At Station 102, located in Homestead Road, the busiest station (averaging 12-15 calls per day) in Lehigh Acres the firemen arrive before 8 a.m. daily, they set about their individually assigned chores of dusting, mopping, polishing and waxing. Each day, one man is assigned to the cooking of meals and cleaning up the kitchen. They turn out some mighty fine dishes, too.
Fire Trucks, Ambulances and equipment are cleaned and stocked daily. All communications equipment is checked out daily to assure proper working order when in the event it is needed.
The fire departments have evolved over the years into a multi-faceted public service agency with an ever-increasing workload as Lehigh Acres Fire has seen in the past years. From a volunteer to a career department in nearly 50 years.
Firefighters today are expected to have the knowledge and maintain skill in a seemingly endless variety of topics including Emergency medical treatment, hazardous materials, computers and technology, public education, fire protection systems, apparatus and equipment operation and maintenance, public administration, public relations and of course firefighting and EMS transport.
When not cleaning, there is always plenty of studying and practicing of emergency medical and firefighting techniques. New methods are constantly being found in rescue operations and the staff must be kept informed of them. As new equipment is introduced to the market, firemen must learn its use.
Practice, practice, practice. Knowing what the books say about a given situation is not enough. The staff must practice setting up equipment, using it and cleaning it.
Lehigh Acres Fire recently purchased two new replacement fire trucks and still has two more ambulances and Battalion Chiefs vehicle to be delivered in the next few months.
Lehigh Acres Fire Department Rescue District has 97 firefighters, some are firefighter/EMT and some are firefighter/Paramedics but ALL are Firefighters.
This is why we cannot say that there is a “typical day” at the Fire Department. Each day or “shift” brings the firefighter new training, opportunities and challenges. Firefighters work a 24-hour shift followed by 48 hours off. Following is an idea of what one 24 hour shift at a Lehigh Acres Fire Department might look like.
6:45 am BC arrives at station 102
7:50 am Fireman arrive at the firehouse and prepare for the 8:00 start of the shift.
DAILY STATION DUTIES AT THE FIVE STATIONS · Air out dormitory turn off A/C or heat when airing out dormitory. · Duties will start immediately after shift change. · All “Daily Duties” are to be completed prior to going to bed. · All cleaning of stations will be done before going to bed at night except for the administrative offices. Administrative offices and restrooms will be cleaned daily (in the morning) to include sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, emptying trash and cleaning water fountains. · Daily Vehicle Checklists for all “In-Service” and “Reserve” units will be completed. · ALS Checklists for all “In-Service” and “Reserve” units will be completed. · Inspect and maintain all equipment and make necessary minor repairs and/or notify maintenance. · All fluid levels to be checked every day in all Emergency district vehicles excluding Staff vehicles that do not respond on a daily basis. · Sweep and/or blow out all apparatus floors. · Wash all apparatus floors when needed. · Vacuum and/or clean all counters in kitchen, laundry room, watch-room, and offices. · Clean all station bathrooms, sinks, commodes, urinals, shower areas. · Empty and clean all trash containers in bay, quarters and in offices. · Sweep and/or mop the tiled floors of the stations. Vacuum carpeted areas to include floor mats. · All equipment will be cleaned after each use including the rescue’s stretcher and patient compartment. · Police exterior station grounds for trash and other debris. · Beds are to be made up by 8:00PM · Bedroom areas, shower areas, and locker areas are to be kept neat and clean at all times. · Dishes, pots, pans, microwave, oven, stovetop and any other kitchen equipment used will be cleaned immediately after use by the individual that used the equipment (including the grill). · Training conducted and training reports will be logged in
MONDAY · Complete all daily station duties · Request for station supplies are to be completed ASAP. · Station medical supply cabinet to be checked and restocked. Request for station medical supplies are to be completed ASAP. · Station supplies (all) will be delivered to each station by Logistics / etc. on Tuesday. · In-Service Rescue o Wash and vacuum (interior and exterior). o Remove and clean all equipment & compartments on the interior and exterior. o Clean and polish diamond plate areas; wax the entire Rescue on the 1st Monday of the month. · Staff vehicles o Chief, Deputy Chief, Assistant Chief’s, Division Chief, Battalion Chief, Captain’s, and spare staff vehicles. o Raise hood, check and fill all fluids (if needed), examine and clean batteries; check belts. o All tires on staff vehicles to be inflated to proper pressures and checked for unusual wear. o Wash and vacuum “staff vehicles” (interior and exterior). o Wax the “staff vehicles” on the Last Monday of the month. · Station grounds o Station generator to be checked and tested, checklist to be filled out on Target solutions. o Clean station generator room/area. o Battalion Chief’s office to be cleaned. G.O. 201707 Daily Station Duties Page 3 TUESDAY · Complete all daily station duties · Station supplies (all) will be delivered to each station by Logistics / etc. · Brush Truck o Wash and vacuum, interior and exterior. o Wash pump area and undercarriage; remove debris. o Remove and clean all equipment & compartments. o Clean and polish diamond plate and chrome areas and wax the entire brush truck(s) on the 1st Tuesday of each month. · Reserve Engine o Wash and vacuum the apparatus, interior and exterior. o Ground ladders on the apparatus are to be checked. o Remove and clean all equipment & compartments on the apparatus o Clean & polish diamond plate and chrome areas. Wax the entire apparatus on the Last Tuesday of each month. · Maintenance o All-District Rescues that use Diesel Exhaust Fluid or DEF shall be brought to the Maintenance Division every Tuesday to have the fluids checked and filled plus replenish/replace empty 02 bottles. · Station grounds o Scrub and clean all shower areas with appropriate cleaners. o Scrub all bathroom floors and walls. WEDNESDAY · Complete all daily station duties · In-Service Engine o Wash and vacuum, interior and exterior. o All power equipment and mechanical tools shall be checked for proper operation and cleaned. o Ground ladders are to be inspected with results logged in Target Solutions on the 1st Wednesday of each month. o Remove and clean all equipment and compartments of the apparatus. o Clean & polish diamond plate and chrome areas, wax the entire apparatus on the Last Wednesday of each month. · Maintenance o All-District Engines that use Diesel Exhaust Fluid or DEF shall be brought to the Maintenance Division every Wednesday to have the fluids checked and filled. · Station grounds o Fuel tanks at Stations 102, 104, and 105 are to be checked and entered into Aladtec under Forms / Weekly Fuel Readings (feet and Inches and meter readings needed). o Wash and/or clean all walls in living area with appropriate cleaners (removing marks & dirt). o Sweep, vacuum, mop, and clean all administration areas, dormitories and supply/storage rooms. G.O. 201707 Daily Station Duties Page 4 o Clean spider webs from inside building. Remove spider webs from exterior entry areas and windows. · Station 104 o Sweep and clean fire pump building and run pump. Complete login in notebook, in pump room. Report any deficiencies in work order. THURSDAY · Complete all daily station duties · Tender o Wash and vacuum, interior and exterior. o Ground ladders are to be checked and logged in Target Solutions on the 1st Thursday of each month (where applicable). o Remove, clean and inspect the portable tank for damage on the 2 nd Thursday of each month. o Remove and clean all equipment & compartments. o Clean & polish diamond plate and chrome areas, wax the entire Tender on the last Thursday each month. · Air trailer and Mako room at Station 102 and 104 o Check and fill all fluids and batteries (if needed) on the Scott Air Trailer. o Run to exercise the Scott Air Trailer’s engine and electric motor to charge battery. o Wash and/or clean interior/exterior of the Scott Air Trailer. o Wax the entire Scott Air Trailer on the Last Thursday of each month. o Sweep and Clean Mako air room, fill all low bottles, Station 102 and 104. · Station grounds o Clean kitchen stove and oven. Clean and polish grill. o Clean kitchen stove hoods, cooktop and grease filters (hood). o Clean out refrigerator and wipe down. Any items not covered and dated throw out. o Clean kitchen cabinets and organize, interior and exterior. FRIDAY · Complete all daily station duties · Truck (Station 104) Wash and clean, interior and exterior. o Ground ladders are to be checked and logged in Target Solutions on the 1st Friday of each month. o Remove and clean all equipment & compartments. o Clean and wax/polish the “Ladder” of the aerial apparatus on the 2rd Friday of each month. o Clean and polish diamond plate and chrome areas, wax the aerial apparatus on the last Friday of each month. · Reserve Rescue (Where applicable) o Wash and vacuum, interior and exterior. o Remove and clean all equipment and compartments on the interior and exterior o Clean and polish diamond plate and chrome areas, wax the entire rescue on the 1 st Friday of each month. · Station grounds G.O. 201707 Daily Station Duties Page 5 o Remove all dry hose from tower/room and clean hose tower/room. o Wash and/or clean all station windows, inside and outside. o Clean ceiling fans, light fixtures, filters, ducts, and vent covers. o Clean, vacuum, sweep, and/or mop training and weights rooms. SATURDAY · Complete all daily station duties · Station grounds o Sweep and wash all apparatus floors. o Wash bay doors, clean bay windows and glass. o Clean outside station (front door entryways, porches and glass areas). o Bunker gear inspection every Saturday of the month and logged in Target Solutions. o Sweep and wash turnout gear areas on the 1st Saturday of each month. o Clean spider webs from apparatus bay walls and ceiling on the last Saturday of each month. o SCBA Air packs are to be checked, tested, cleaned and logged in Target Solutions. o Safety inspection of station is to be completed in Target Solutions on the 1st Saturday of each month by inspecting station buildings and grounds for safety concerns/defects. This is also being SUNDAY · Complete all daily duties. · Complete any unfinished training for the week/month.
Calls: The above schedule does not include the average 12-15 calls per day for station two. Or the Average of calls per day for the district 30 to 40.
The time spent on a call can vary from 30 minutes to several hours or more and may involve one or two engines or every piece of available apparatus they have plus mutual aid from other departments.
This can have a significant impact on the schedule for the day and many times training or maintenance must be rescheduled to another day.
The firefighters accept this as a part of their job and learn to be very flexible in their daily “routine”. Calls that occur at night do not interrupt the work schedule so much as your sleep cycle.
Firemen in Lehigh Acres work 24-hour shifts. Even on their days off, they are subject to call out in the event of a major fire. And when called out, they respond.
On duty, whether asleep, eating or working, or just relaxing in the evening, when the alarm sounds, Lehigh Acres firemen are ready to meet any challenge that might be calling. Hazardous and demanding? Yes . . . but if you ask any of them — it’s a rewarding career to be able to help those in need of assistance.
As one fireman sums it up; we’re not heroes because we save a child’s life or prevent a fire from getting out of control . . . we’re just men and women doing our jobs, and if it calls for saving a life, we do it.”
Re: Thank you Lehigh Acres Fire and Rescue District for the information we used in this article