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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another Adventure with Numbnutz

Sort of but not really picking up where we left off in the previous post.

I'd been on that particular agency, my first, for almost three years at the time of this adventure. I was, I'll admit, nicknamed 'Schwartz' there because of my rather overzealous approach to the job in my formative years, long before I became grumpy. That nickname is between you and me. Don't tell.

We were dispatched to a smoke smell in a residence. I drove to the station, as per protocol, to either staff up assigned BRTs and respond, or staff the big house if the assigned BRTs were already gone.

This agency has well-defined response procedures by call type, and the SOPs are clear that you continue to follow the response order until Command cancels you, regardless of what you hear on the size up, etc. You don't even have to check the SOP, because all the units on the response, in the order they're supposed to go, are included in the voice dispatch. Easy.

I arrived at the big house (15 total units!) to find the first engine and the rescue already gone. The small structure fire response SOP directed that a medic go next, followed by the quint/ladder. So I geared up and, logically, trotted out towards the first-out medic.

Numbnutz walks onto the apparatus floor and tries to wave me off. Oh stop it, Schwartz, it's probably just food on the stove, we're not going anywhere.

Numbnutz, I respectfully but firmly said, we haven't been canceled. I kept trotting.

Schwartz, do not get on that ambulance!

I ignored him. He was not an officer, and he was contradicting clear SOP. Screw him.

Schwartz, if you leave on that truck, you are finished here! You're gone. Damn it, don't you get on that rig! He was pretty upset. Wow, dude. I felt very safe, protected by the policy.

For some reason, he didn't try to stop the next two guys that came out and climbed aboard Medic 61 with me. We were supposed to leave with a minimum of two but recommended staff of four for fires. Numbnutz wasn't coming and no one else had arrived yet. Medic 61 left Numbnutz behind.

Medic 61 arrived to a single story bread-and-butter residence with nothing showing, and was immediately directed to pack up and prepare for entry. Well, now! Small but active attic fire which had spread from an old faulty chimney. In fact, I personally pulled the ceiling in the living room after we put down salvage covers.

When my crew was low on air, we went outside. Ladder 61 had arrived. Numbnutz was stewing in the drivers seat, watching us work.

Apparently Numbnutz ranted about us leaving to the guys who showed up next at the big house, including a Captain. Smooth. Captain unsurprisingly directed the ladder to go anyway (you know, not yet canceled by Command and all that), and told Numbnutz that since he "wasn't needed", he could just "watch the truck".

It got even better when said Captain was informed of the threat to kick me off the department for following SOP, but I was not privy to that post-incident interview.

Numbnutz didn't say much to me for a while. It was nice.

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