Again, I began the day at 4:00 AM. I studied for this morning’s weekly test, read and responded to email, and went into the office for an hour to talk with Assistant Chief of Operations, Jim Smith, about staffing issues.
Today’s academy class started with a 40 question weekly test, covering the history and organization of the fire service, PPE and SCBAs, and the Department’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) we had discussed in class so far. Passing score is 75%, and if a recruit scores too low on several tests, they can be dismissed from the academy. I don’t think anyone had any problems with today’s test…
I had to duck out of class for several hours in the morning to meet with a City Councilmember on several “Fire Chief” issues, but I returned to class in the late morning. I missed a presentation by the City Credit Union, but I am already familiar with their services. I also missed a lecture by Don Smiley, a supervisor from the Ramsey County Emergency Communications Center – the “dispatch center” that takes 9-1-1 calls for Saint Paul, delivers life-saving/life-sustaining instructions over the phone to callers, dispatches Saint Paul Fire and EMS units, and maintains radio contact with fire units working at emergency scenes. Being the former director of that center, I already knew most of the material, but I would have liked to hear Don make his presentation. Don is a very talented dispatcher, and an Assistant Fire Chief in Little Canada, MN. He’s a good friend, and a very professional fire officer and communicator.
After lunch, we ordered uniforms from our uniform vendor, listened to a presentation about the International Association of Firefighters and Local 21 (the bargaining unit for firefighters in Saint Paul), and were fit-tested for N-95 respirator masks and SCBA face masks.
PT hour finished off the day.
The first week of the academy was over, and we had accomplished quit a bit: indoctrination into the department, taken care of many “routine” administrative chores associated with new employee orientation, been fitted for and issued PPE and SCBAs, and been tested on our academic coursework. In the process, we were introduced to some great instructors, and the wonderful crews of on-duty firefighters who brought their vehicles (“rigs”) and their equipment out to the training facility for us to look at, crawl around in, and ask questions about. Having the crews there gave all of us a great opportunity to hear words of advice, encouragement, and experience! Their presence at our academy is a great benefit to the new recruits.
Sore…..tired….happy. It’s been great so far!