Take This Job and Love It: Firefighter 

Things are heating up this month on this edition of Take This Job and Love It.Chelsey Anderson got to live out many little kid’s dreams.She had the opportunity to be firefighter-for-a-day at a car fire training in Hampden.————–Frank Hammond, Fire Instructor- “Welcome. You’ve hydrated.” “Yes.” I had had fire safety training with Frank Hammond the day before, but I still had to learn how to use my respirator.Frank- “Are you claustrophobic?” “No.” Frank- “I’ll find out if you are.” “Okay” (nervous laughter) Frank- “It won’t take long. We’ll find out.”So we did a quick test with my mask.”This is a great look I’m sure.” Frank-“Oh it is! I mean Darth Vadar is saying, ‘Hey! What are you doing tomorrow night.” (laughter)The good news: I’m not claustrophobic and I’m ready to suit up. “I’m super excited.”The bad news: firefighters are supposed to be dressed in one minute, and I just couldn’t do that. I couldn’t even get zipped or find my straps in a minute.Frank-“It weighs about 30 pounds.” “Okay.” Frank- “Riding alright?” “Whoa! That’s heavy!” Frank- “It throws off your center of balance.” “Yeah!”Now that we were suited up it was time to huddle up for a brief introduction.Fire Instructor- “Young lady reporter over there, Chelsey, is going to be playing with us today. We’re going to have three working companies. Level one station resource, you’ll be getting a little lecture in there. Second place is backup, watch the attack group, watch the igniter. Third place is attack.”I was starting on backup, but before we got to business we did an equipment and safety check.(nat alarm) Frank- “Shake. Shake. For pre-alarms if you don’t move someone will say, ‘Hey! Shake your butt!” Because the sensors are down low.”Then the call.Firefighter Instructor over the speaker- “Backup move in. Go igniter. Fire in the vehicle. Attack group, go get her.”I was amazed how fast this company had the fire knocked down. It was our turn on attack and I was hoping for the best.Frank-“Put your hand on top.” “And this one?” Frank- “Goes right there.”Firefighter Instructor over the speaker- “Fire in the vehicle. Attack, when you’re ready have at it.”My heart was racing.Frank- “Okay, go a little closer. Lean in. There you go. Watch your pipe opperator. You’re doing good. Stay with it. Stay on it. Watch what he’s doing.”I might look calm, but this was intense.Frank- “How you doing, okay?” “Yeah.” Frank- “You’re doing great.”The fire was knocked down in the first zone. Now we had to move to the front of the vehicle.Fire Instructor- “Swing hard. Swing hard.”Frank- “Stop right here.”A safety instructor checks the vehicle but the fire’s not extinguished. An instructor helps us come up with another plan of action.Right then I come to realize, I wish I was taller for this job. I had to stand on my tippy toes and I could only hold the hose with one hand. So, I’m not sure I was helping very much there.And time to clear the scene.Firefighter over the speaker- “We are clear of fire.””That’s a lot of pressure.” Frank- “What you’re feeling is nozzle reaction. When you get an angle like, that’s when it gets stronger.” (laughter) “I’m like, ‘Oh, no! I’m not tall enough!” (laughter)Frank- “You did a fantastic job.” “Thank you.” Frank- “You got right in there too.”My team was great, and I did my best, so would Frank hire me for the job?Frank- “Yes. Yes I would. And we’d put you through basic training. You can come out to Burlington Fire Department and Lincoln Fire Department anytime as far as I’m concerned. We’d put you right on and put you to work.”————————Chelsey says she never did figure out how to get her suit on or off by herself, so she’d have to practice a lot if she did decide to join a department.Chelsey would like to thank everyone who helped in training and on site, and to the Hermon Fire Department for lending their gear.If you have an idea for the next Take This Job and Love It email us: [email protected]