A Day in the Life of a Firefighter
By Peter Olsen

I went with a group of Desert Hills Christian Homeschoolers on a field trip to the Daisy Mountain Fire Department for Fire Safety Week. The firefighters were gone out on a call when we got there, so we waited for them to come back. Then they showed us the fire truck and firefighting equipment. One of the firemen put on his suit and breathing mask so we could see what it looked like.

Mr. Mike Mattingly talked to us about fire safety. He gave us some papers so we could draw a floor plan of our house and make our own fire escape plan. Then we could hand it in to enter the Great Escape contest. About a month later, I found out that I had won. I could be a firefighter for a day! A parent had to go, too, so my dad and I arranged to do it on Wednesday, December 6th, 2000.

We got there at 8:00 am. One of the firefighters showed us around inside the ambulance truck. The guy in the ambulance had a patch on his sleeve that said "Paramedic." His first name was Gene. The first thing he does when he gets to work is to put everything in order the way he likes it. That way he knows where everything is and can find it quickly.

They tied me to a board and stood me up. My feet didn't touch the ground, I was strapped in there so tight. The ambulance had lots of stuff for helping patients, like medicines, needles, a heart monitor, and other things. They checked my heart rate.

Next, we went out and washed the fire truck. When we were done with that, we got a call. We all jumped in the fire engine and put our seatbelts and headphones on. Mike Mattingly drove the fire engine. He's called an engineer. They had the sirens going. When we got there, it was just somebody burning trash! So we went back to the station.

The fire station is a house-like building. They have a table on one side of the main room. On the other side of the room there are six big comfy chairs and a TV and a computer. There's a kitchen, and they have a hallway leading to the bedrooms and bathrooms.

After lunch we had a dance. It was a special kind of dance called the Virginia Reel. Some of the Civil War people including some ladies wearing hoop skirts danced with us.

After lounging around for a while, we went out to get lunch. We went to the Safeway store in Anthem. We bought hamburger meat, hot dogs, burger buns, hot dog buns, lettuce, green beans, French fries, and condiments.

We took the food back to the station. We made the hamburgers. We cooked the hot dogs and hamburgers in the barbeque. I went out to look at the barbeque and I made a joke. I said "Oh no! There's a fire!" The firemen laughed.

We ate inside at the table. I had Coke to drink. They had their own soda pop machine. Each can of pop cost 50 cents. After lunch, we lounged around some more. We watched a couple of videos about firemen and fighting fires. Then the firefighters went training.

We drove in the fire engine and the ambulance followed us. We went to Desert Hills. We went down a road where there was a fire hydrant. I got to spray a hose. We were next to a wash, and when I sprayed the hose from on top of the truck, it made the wash run a little bit. The water that came out of the hose on the roof went up really high! We hooked up a hose to the fire hydrant and the firefighters practiced.

Then we all went back to the station and lounged around some more. Dad and I went home around 6:00 pm. My day at the fire station wasn't super exciting, but it was interesting. There are some days when the firefighters don't even get to stop for lunch because they get so many calls. So it's good that the firefighters get to rest up once in a while. The firemen were friendly. They made me feel comfortable and I had a good time.

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