Monday, August 9, 2010

Mystery Meat

As I pull through the gate, I quickly scan the lot and take inventory of the vehicles to see who might be here today. I recognize one of them as belonging to one of my crew, three belonging to the regularly assigned off-going crew and two vehicles which I don't recognize.

That means I have at least one visitor today, possibly two. I don't see my engineer's truck in the lot, which means he might be coming from another station or he might be taking the day off.

It's that time of year. People are using their accumulated vacation days, holidays and trades to accommodate the various functions and events the season demands. Although baseball has been over for several weeks for some kids, football has begun. Vacations have been planned and are now being taken. Relatives are vacationing in our area and need to be shown the sights. People just need the time off.

Most All members of the K.B.F.P.D. are trained to a level of competency in their respective job functions, so it really shouldn't matter who occupies a seat on a rig. Yet, somehow it does, at least to me. I think it has more to do with familiarity and comfort levels than it does with competence.

This applies more to the engineer's position than any other. My engineer knows our district and rarely needs help in finding a location. Although I always make sure I know where we are going, I usually only use this knowledge to verify what my engineer already knows.

The same thing applies to the rig, Although most of our rigs a very similar, each has it's own idiosyncrasies and my engineer has ours down cold. I know the way he drives and am comfortable with it. He knows the way I like the unit spotted on scene, my code three driving philosophy and my management style and at the least tolerates my idiosyncrasies.

Personally, I hate it when my engineer takes the day off and finds a replacement that isn't from our station. I never quite relax when a stranger is behind the wheel. Of course, some make me more nervous than others. Some I find quite annoying.

It usually involves what I view to be poor driving habits. Even worse are engineers with abso-freakin-lutely no sense of direction nor any knowledge of my little part of the K.B.F.P.D. Fortunately these individuals are rare, but they do show up on occasion to safely transport me and my crew to emergency calls. It makes my day considerably more difficult.

My crew does not realize it, but while driving to a call, I have a lot of things to do. Some are critical, some less so. The last thing I need, is to do the engineer's job for him and tell him how to get on the freeway or where the mall is. Those are big things and  someone who has been here long enough to be an engineer should know the area good enough as to not require assistance.

As a supervisor, I can't tell my engineer who to trade time with, as much as I'd like to. However, I can express my appreciation when he obtains a replacement that I enjoy working with. Fortunately, this usually works and his replacements work out OK.

As much as I like summer, I will be grateful when fall rolls around and our staffing and routine return to normal.

Of course, that the means the holidays are just around the corner and people will need more time off.

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