Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Evil is as Evil Does

I was at the drill tower today, stopping by as I had business with the training division. Engine ?? was there, putting the final touches on a boot who takes his six month practical test next shift. As always, I asked the Captain (in private) if the boot was ready. The captain assured me that the boot was indeed ready, and that they were just hitting a few points that could use a tiny bit of polishing.

The conversation moved to some recent vacancies that had been created, both of which I had not heard of. The first was a guy who I had only met once or twice, one that had come to us from a large department on the east coast. Apparently, after a short time here, he decided west coast all risk firefighting was not what he looking to do. The absurd number of EMS calls we run and the very likely possibility of responding to wildland conflagrations that last for weeks was not something that he cared to deal with. I think that the thought of going through a year of probation probably didn't appeal to him either. This guy's wife is very well employed so he just resigned. Good on him. If you don't like what you are doing, GTFO.

This gig isn't for everyone. I have more respect for someone who makes the change, than for someone who is miserable and stays. Good luck to him, I hope he does well at whatever he is doing now.

It was the second departure that I found shocking. The Evil Medic, a guy who had been on my crew for a while, was terminated after a second (or more?) DWI arrest.

The Evil Medic (rear) during better times.

 The first arrest had occurred while I was still on the job. The department knew and had taken the appropriate action, but he had done a real good job keeping it from the troops and I never knew.

His most recent arrest in itself was good cause for termination, but what really got him was the policy of the agency that regulates paramedic licensing. They don't mess around. I don't know what their policy actually is, but apparently,  two deuces will cause them to revoke your paramedic license. Done, game over. They don't care what the department does, what their policy is or whether an employee deserves another chance.  The license is revoked and the person in question can look forward to a career in used car sales.

In our agency, a person who does not have a medic or emt license is of no value, much as a person who does not have a drivers license. Adios, thanks for coming.

While I support the hard-line policy, it kinda hurts when it hits this close to home. The evil medic was a solid firefighter, medic and pulled his weight around the station. I liked him. I know he worked hard to get on  the job, but now that is irrelevant as it is very doubtful that he will be able to recover from this.  As my wife put it "he should have learned from the first incident and changed his ways."

Obviously his drinking is a problem, I just don't know to what extent. He will need to get that issue squared away before he can begin to recover from losing his career.

Good luck Evil Medic.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Firevergn├╝gen or Feuervergugen

Driving on the freeway downtown and saw the smoke. I was lucky, as I was able to exit and get to a vantage point and watch the boys from Sta. #1 and #6 go to work. Also lucky, as I was able to get back in the truck and leave as soon as it was out. The freeway was shut down for half an hour or so, I was home editing photos before the last unit cleared.

I grabbed the wrong camera/lens (70-200) as I exited my truck, so these are all a little tighter than I would have liked. I am thinking of swapping my main lens (24-70 2.8) for a 24-105 f4. The 24-105 F4 is a slightly "slower" lens, but it has image stabilization and it is a zooms in a little closer than the 24-70. I think it would be a little more versatile and as I tend to shake a little bit at times, (especially when I am fired up) the stabilization would be helpful.

Good work by the Downtown and North End engines for making quick work of this, they have been seeing a bit of flamage the past few weeks. As I live on the other end of town, I have seen little of it.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, November 29, 2015

To Prove I am Still Alive

Still here, enjoying the world that god has provided us with and still pissed at the absurdly stupid and evil.

My beloved RFD (Kinda Big Fire Protection District) has been under new leadership for over a year now and the new Chief appears to be working out well. Though we do not always agree on things (nor should we), we seem to have a mutual respect for each other and an ability to discuss matters that we might have a difference of opinion on.

Though he has no obligation to do so, he still allows me to serve as the department photographer - a role that I enjoy greatly. It allows me to meet the new people that have come on the department since I retired and it allows me to see old friends that I have known for years. It is alarming however, the number of friends that have retired recently, a sure sign that I am getting older. The other alarming thing is that a few "new" folks that came on when I left are starting to promote. I suppose I will be calling some of them "Chief" some day.

Though The Saint That I Am Married To is still gainfully employed, we are still able to get away now and then. We went to Louisville Ky, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in TN last month and had a great time - though I absolutely hated Pigeon Forge and to a lesser extent, Gatlinburg. The gross commercialization of that area is appalling. I am told it is like Branson on steroids. A good reason to avoid Branson. Every day we were there, we were forced to sit in traffic for hours. Fortunately, the beauty of the park surpassed the ugliness of Pigeon Forge and we enjoyed the trip greatly.

I wouldn't mind going back to the park someday, maybe in the spring - kind of the off-season. I would probably rent another cabin, though closer to the south end of the park.

El Cheepo Jeepo is still running strong though it is eleven years old and has 80k on the odometer. A minor moderate mishap in Death Valley a couple of years ago forced me to upgrade some additional components to finally get it about where I want it to be. Though a little body work could stand to be done, all of the damaged suspension and undercarriage components have been replaced/upgraded and it still serves me faithfully.

I hope that this finds all of you well, I know there have been some issues among some of you and I hope that you have been given the strength and other tools to motor past them. I hope it will not be so long between posts this time and yet I want to wish all of you a blessed Christmas season and a happy holiday to my non-christian friends.

Thanks for reading,