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Fire Fighter

Typical Day

Smokey Blazer wakes up to hear bells ringing and children singing outside his window. It's Christmas morning! But not for him. No—for Smokey, it's just another day on the job. Fires don't take days off. (He even has a mug that says that.)

After breakfast and a quick shower, Smokey is on his way into the station. He arrives a few minutes before 8am, already in uniform (not the big, heavy gear—that's only if there’s a call). He starts by going around the station with one other fire fighter to inspect all of the fire engines and make sure they’re fully operational, and that all equipment is also operational and has been loaded onto the trucks. Then, because no calls have come in yet, he heads to the fitness center to work on his ceps and glutes. (No self-respecting fire fighter refers to these muscles by their full names.) He has an hour of technique training before lunch (today it's swift water rescue training; tomorrow will be high rope rescue training), and then spends some time converting burgers and fries into raw energy.

Mmm...nutrition.

After lunch, Smokey puts in about another half hour on apparatus maintenance, but his day is interrupted suddenly—a call has come in about a house that has caught on fire. Christmas tree lights, no doubt. Lickety-split, he and a team of seven other fire fighters are on a pair of trucks and racing down the streets of town. They will eventually discover that it was not, as they suspected, unattended Christmas tree lights. Rather, some kid had gotten a chemistry set as a gift and had decided to mix some of the chemicals provided with a quart of gasoline and a lit match. (The static electricity caused by his footie pajamas rubbing against the carpet didn't help either.)

The team coordinates efforts, some firefighters pulling hoses from the trucks and working to put out the flames from outside, others rushing inside the house through the back door in an attempt to get everyone safely out of the house. They work quickly, but don't go barreling through the house like gorillas. They have to be careful not to jar a structural beam that may have been weakened by the fire and could cause the entire structure to collapse. Their primary goals are to remove babies and young children from the house, as well as anyone who might be trapped and in immediate danger of being surrounded by flames. Then, if there are still any adults or animals left inside, they go back in for them. Maybe not the goldfish. They're on their own.

They're all smiling, but can they really be that happy?

Everyone survives this fire, although a couple family members are carried away on stretchers. Somehow, the kid who started the whole mess got out practically unscathed. He tugs on Smokey's uniform and tells him he wants to be a firefighter someday. Right, kid.

The gang heads back to the station, where they wash up and prepare for dinner. After that, Smokey writes up a report on the details of the fire and delivers it to the Captain. He's on the clock for another two hours but has nothing scheduled and there are no more calls. He and his fellow firefighters watch television and play a little poker to pass the time. It's a relatively slow day, and at 10pm Smokey heads home so he can get some sleep and do it all over again the next day. Oh yeah—Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

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