Friday, June 11, 2010

Fire Fighter I Training

Again, it has been almost two weeks since I posted, and I apologize.  Lots of you know that I have been a volunteer with Public Safety for about 18 months, serving as an Emergency Medical Technician and more recently a fire fighter.  We are not a busy service out here on the island, but I have been on over 60 runs so far this year, mostly medical but some fire, and since May 10th I have been attending formal training to become an certified Fire Fighter 1.
I have made a conscious decision long ago to not blog about my volunteer service, whether with Public Safety or any other agency, for many reasons mostly related to protecting the privacy of the citizens of Unalaska that I serve.  Integrity, compassion and discretion are core values for the volunteers of Unalaska Fire Rescue; discussing anything related to an ambulance or fire call would be unprofessional, disrespectful, and in most cases illegal.

With all that said, it would be remiss of me not to explain why I blog so rarely lately - Fire Fighter I training occupies 20 to 30 hours a week between classwork, hands-on and outside reading, depending on each week's schedule.  For me, this is on top of an 80 hour work week, and any free time I have is generally spent with my poor long-suffering wife who puts up with me dashing out of bed at 3 in the morning when someone needs help - she is the hero in the family, not me.  

I would also like to mention that many of the folks I admire most on the island are cops, fire fighters, or EMTs, and I am THRILLED with the folks who are training with me in Fire Fighter I - Dan, Darrel, Eric, Flor, Dimitri (who took the photos on this post), Cadet Barbar (the little brother I never had), and Tracy, it is indeed a privilege.  While I am publicly giving kudos, let me mention volunteer Captain Gary Sandness, who sets the tone and inspires public service participation at Alyeska Seafoods; Company Vice President Sinclair Wilt, who allows me to respond to emergencies during business hours; Lieutenant Joe Robinson who sets a great example in all things and introduced me to the service; my run buddies FF/EMT Flor Luna, FF/EMT Kris-Ann Wilcox & Captain Salvador Alvarado whose ready smile, quiet leadership and easy going manner at 1 AM inspires us all to try harder.  Thanks to Captain Deffendal who has been a volunteer for over 20 years, and has the best bed-side manner on the force.  Thanks also to the paid staff - Captains Day and Gray who are leading the charge on getting us ready for the state exams, Captain Sheffield for always striving to raise the bar on the medical side, and Fire Chief Long who is one of the best instructors I've ever had in 30 years of classes at seven colleges and the US Army, and who has a vision for Unalaska Fire Rescue and still believes at the ripe old age of 40 in the inherent potential in all of us. 

Much like the three years of island blogging before now, I don't imagine I'll mention much about all this after tonight, except maybe "big deals" like graduation from Fire Fighter I.  I know my volunteer service will continue to be challenging, emotionally rewarding, and a source of pride in the years to come - for the island readers, give us a wave when you see us on the road, on a call, or training - we really try to be the best we can because we love the island and the people on it!  Cheers, Steve

10 comments:

bre said...

Wow! That is a long ways up!
Quite proud of you, little bro

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

That's GREAT, and good for you. Departments need dedicated new people! I can remember my first climb up a Firebird 150. I was only in my 40s and even then it was one helluva hike up that Bad Boy! But I sure got some great photos from it!

Cool photos! Good job Steve!

BZ

P.S.
Here's some irony: the word I received for "word verification" of this comment was BURNE.

unalaska said...

You are the bombe, and I like you ever so much because you love it here!

Dan said...

Steve, very well said. Your approach, points and observations are great. I know between work, family and service calls your running yourself hard - your dedication says a lot. Keep it up and we can laugh about it at graduation!

Richard & Penelope said...

You sure keep a heavy schedule but it is nice to see that you take an interest in your chosen place of residing to make it safer. We are proud of you and all that you do but also hope that you don't burn yourself out. Remember that you also have a wife who you need to share your time with. Enough said. We love you and are proud of all that you do and have accomplished.
Dad & Penny

Anonymous said...

I understand that you drive Captain Sandness to calls. Why is it that you don't drive MY son to calls???? :)

Alaska Steve said...

Well, having a driver is just something for CPT Deffendal to strive towards . . . I hear you're coming out for a visit??

Alaska Steve said...

Unalaska - YOU'RE the bomb, and folks like you are WHY I love it here . . .

Alaska Steve said...

Thanks, Dan, BZ and family!

Anonymous said...

Yes, coming for a visit and looking so forward to meeting all of you. See you in just a couple weeks!