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Monday, August 8, 2011

Us and Them

Had a kid take a dip in a local lake, seems he and his brother and some friends managed to slip the childcare provider.

Engine 56, Engine 53, Engine 54, Medic 98, near-drowning at Lost Lake.....

I just happened to be at Station 53 on an unrelated chore and made the scene. We responded with purpose, anticipating someone maybe needing to be plucked from a rock in the middle of the water, with respiratory and/or thermal issues.

We didn't know it was a kid.

We also didn't know that he'd been missing for over half an hour before the call ever came out.

A not-very-cheerful recovery project followed. But, that's what we do. Can't always have fun and games and saves, right?

Damn it.

- - - - - -

Sorry for the lag in posts. Was off on a road trip family vacation. In fact, speaking of water rescue, several of my children and those of a family friend, with the other Mom, went tubing on the river. I was tasked to wait at the meeting point.

When they were almost an hour overdue, I started getting concerned. Started nosing around. Turns out they had made a massive situational awareness fail - that I also failed to catch - where they tubed down a different waterway and never passed me.

A quick check of the map showed them on a river with no realistic road access, deep in no man's land. There were perhaps three hours of daylight left, no phone coverage, and no idea in the world where they were, if they had gotten out or just went on, looking for civilization.

Drove a ways to a hill to get phone coverage and reached the Sheriff's Office. Turns out they were on a path to a couple of dicey river canyons. The Search and Rescue coordinator from the SO had a tone in his voice that induced a notable pucker factor. The SO started to scrounge up aircraft resources.


Long story shirt, they figured out the mistake, landed and scrabbled up a steep slope to the dirt road, where we stumbled on them by sheer dumb chance/luck, a good three miles from camp. A quick drive back to coverage and a call back to the SO to call off the help. And he didn't even taunt me for being a fireman and letting this happen. I had it coming, though.

Many lessons (re)learned which I won't burden you with, and our day blessedly did not end up like that of the family of the first bit above. A thin line separates "us" from "them" at all times, and a reminder to avoid complacency is in order once in a while.

- - - - - -

Going back to a second interview for a new power company dispatch job this week. Looks promising, but not a for-sure deal. I debated even bringing it up, but if I get the job it will likely mean a return to interesting power company stories of craziness experienced by the line and substation crews and the dispatchers, as it will place back me closer to the trenches, so to speak. Way more fun there. A pay cut, if necessary, will be worth it.

Stay tuned, and stay safe.

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