National Run Survey: Busiest Heavy Rescue, Fire Station of 2006

In 2006, the specially trained rescue personnel went out the door 4,820 times.

Crewmembers serve as both firefighters and paramedics and they rotate between the two jobs, serving an engine assignment one day, and rescue assignment the next. They work 24-hour-shifts, and work about 10 shifts a month.

Most of the calls station nine gets are not far -- basically within a mile of the station.

"We can get there fast, take care of business fast and as soon as we clear -- boom -- the next one.

With so much to do, Hengst said, there has been talk of relocating another firehouse to cover some of the service area.

"It's always going to be a money issue," he said. Funds are hard to come by, so firefighters can't depend on additional resources.

However, he said stations in surrounding areas have stepped in to handle calls when the station is especially swamped.

Working such long hours under such extreme circumstances can wear on anyone, and Hengst said firefighters at station 9 work hard to keep themselves sane and healthy.

"The one thing you have to deal with most is our own safety. We go in and try to have a positive attitude." The 23-year veteran also speaks highly of the firefighters that he works with - saying the attitude they have is remarkable.

"The entire crew on my shift is young guys with great attitudes."

Hengst, who has spent the bulk of his career at busy stations, had some other words of advice:

  • "Limit the overtime that you work."
  • "You've got to think positive thoughts -- if you're negative that's going to go out into the field."
  • "Vent to crew - we understand because we're all in the same boat."