Monday, September 7, 2009

96 Hours

That's the length of time my firefighter will have been at work by the time he comes home tomorrow. That's two standard 40 hour work weeks, in the span of four days. And, this is not abnormal. I can't remember what it was like to live with normal work hours! My heart goes out to those wildland firefighter wives, who only see their men a few days out of the month during the fire season.

My firefighter doesn't often go out on big fires. He was supposed to be on his way down to the Station Fire in Los Angeles this shift, but his strike team got canceled at the last minute. Instead he spent his shift at the station dealing with a different kind of beast altogether--medical assists.

In the last three days, he's run on:
-several stroke patients
-several hypoglycemic patients
-a young teenage kid who took a mysterious drink from a stranger in the park and was altered
-a drunk man who passed out on the sidewalk (driectly across the street from another drunk man who had passed out a day or so before)
-a man who, while laying in bed, put a .22 to his head and pulled the trigger
-a man who was beat up and pistol whipped during a home invasion robbery
-my firefighter himself broke into a house when an alarm went off only to find out it was a false alarm
-a call to help an elderly man back in bed in the middle of the night
-a call to a fall with injuries for a woman, complicated by the fact that she was also deaf
-and he's rolled on several fires where the residents were able to put it out before the fire department got there.


That's a lot to deal with in three days. It amazes me that he declares a suicide victim dead, and then goes back to the station and finishes dinner. There's a disconnect between what happens on a call and the rest of his life--there has to be, in order to maintain sanity, I think.

Meanwhile, my biggest concern at home was that it took the satellite guy 3 hours to install our dish, and he left behind a big chunk of metal in my front yard for some reason.


Anonymous said...

Slight correction. The passed out drunk guys were passed out directly across the street from each other, at the same time. It was the same location that we had responded to previously for a passed out guy on the sidewalk. All different guys. Someone in the area is throwing wild parties.

Katie's Firefighter

Bill Hess said...

Just discovered your blog. It's for real. Strong stuff. Keep it going!

Katie said...

Thanks, Bill! :)

Morgan said...

He works 96 hours in a row?!? WOW!!!

Was your dad a firefighter too? I saw something in one of your other posts that made me think you might be...

I'm a wife and daughter of firefighters. Like your hubby, they mostly did medical calls, car accidents, and calls where the resident has already put out the fire (or perhaps it was only smoke from a BBQ grill to begin with).
They have seen things that I could never bare to see.

It's good that there are people out there that are willing to take the risks (mental and physical) to make the world a safer place for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

For the record, I usually just work 24 hour shifts. It looks like I may be switching to 48 hour shifts soon which will be nice. The 96 hour workathon only happens when I get overtime and then get forced to work all in a row.

I am the first firefighter on either side of our families. As for being willing to take the physical and mental risks, I don't see it that way. I can't figure out why everyone doesn't want to do this job. Ever wanted to see an accident? See the burning house a little closer? I've told Katie that I'm the ultimate rubber necker because I get to be in the middle of all the action.

Katie's Firefighter

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say that I know what it is like to get a call on the way back to the station from the last call. It can be hectic sometimes. It warms me inside to know that you stand beside him and support him throughout his career. It is hard sometimes for spouses to understand why we do what we do.

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