1. #1
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    Default Scariest Moment as a FF

    Okays, we've had the most memorable moment etc, time for a new topic -

    Scariest Moment as a Firefighter

    Post away!...
    Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1

    ...and before you ask - YES I have done a Bloody SEARCH!

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    Probably the scariest, but also the most exciting and memorable moment so far in my fire service career was my first time being on the first attack team into a structure fire. The Lieutenant with me was a brand new officer so it was a first for him too.

    We lost the house. The entire contents of this house had been smoldering for a while before it was noticed by neighbors. As soon as we made entry the fire got the oxygen it needed and absolutley took off on us, It was just like the movies

    We did okay though and that moment will stay with me for a long, long time.
    Last edited by firecadetak; 04-06-2002 at 11:52 PM.

  3. #3
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    While performing an ice rescue, two heavliy ETOHd a#*holes drove into one another head on while riding ATVs on thin ice, and while I was packaging my pt to move him into a flat bottomed boat we had slid out to the scene I hear the ice crack and watch a spit form about 20 yards away. The crew from the boat jump back in and leave me holding c-spine on a pt who has just regained conciousness and starts screaming he's gonna die alone under the ice. I try to reassure my pt and realize that if I do go in, since I opened and removed the upper part of my "Gumby" suit b/c it was impossible to treat the guy w/ those rubber hands in the suit, I could really be in trouble! After a minute or two it became clear the ice wasnt gonna break yet so we loaded the pt up and got out of there, but I had a good case of the shakes at home after that one.
    Member IACOJ & IACOJ EMS Bureau
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    As always these are strictly my own opinions and views

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    Talking

    It is a toss up between the entrance interview or the first day on the job. Both of those terrified me.
    Craig Walker

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    An Irishman is the only person in the world who would walk over 12 naked women to get to a bottle of Stout.

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    Man this is a tough one, as there are so many times when the pucker factor hits, but I guess mine would be sliding a fully loaded engine with 1000gal. in the tank across a busy intersection.

    I was bringing an engine back from the shop after a brake job, and it was pouring down rain and I mean sheets of rain. I was going maybe 35 mph when I see three cars cross infront of me followed by a red light at the intersection. I lightly hit the newly rebuilt brakes, only to have them lock up. The engine started to swap ends, with the rear coming around pretty quick. I steered into it, let off the brakes, and prayed as my butt sucked up the seat. All I could think about was this multi ton engine hitting a small passenger car. Luckily after sliding sideways across a normally busy intersection I came to rest on the other side with out incident. I always hated the engine, and just found out that it was rolled a few months ago due to the brakes failing.
    All comments are the opinion of the author, and not of any service they are a member of.

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    Exclamation

    A number of years ago we were at a residential wood frame two story that was pretty well involved on the upper floor. My crew had just exited after pretty well knocking it down and we were in the front yard changing tanks. The next gang had just entered in the front door when the brick chimney perched on the roof of the house came straight down through two floors. As the smoke,dust and crap billowed out the front door,we sat there in horror,because our friends would have been right about where it came down. We were scrambling to get back in when to our relief they all appeared in the doorway a whole lot filthier than they had entered,but intact and uninjured. Apparently they had been right under the beamed arch of a doorway when everything came crashing down and that saved them fron serious injury. I don't think I've ever been so scared,for those few moments, that I wouldn't see my friends again.
    To say the least, as I've risen through the ranks, I've remembered that lesson and many more when weighing risk/life factors doing size up. Sometimes its "those moments" that stick with you the most. Thats why I always end my comments with--- STAY SAFE!!!

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    Default Scariest moment

    Well, it's more of an after the fact. I went into this side-by-side duplex as a secondary search with BA and such and my partner (who joined the same time I did) came in with me. The Chief assigned us to do a search upstairs and so on....


    Well, the after the fact comes into play here. I found out a couple of months later that he was closterphobic (spelling?) and I found this out at another fire call (surround and drown) when the deputy grabbed me the coat and told me not to leave him along with SCBA and a hose line advancing.... It all hit me later when I put 2 & 2 together.... Wow, I'm glad that duplex fire was pretty much out and medium haze was all that was left.....
    Joel

    Lets never forget the events of 9-11

    If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!

    **And of course these are only my opinion and only mine. Don't take it out on anyone else but me.**

  8. #8
    Jolly Roger
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    I share the following story, not to brag, not to get sympathy, but to teach. At the time of this incident, I had been a firefighter for just over 10 years. The plain and simple truth is I screwed up. I should have known better. I feel blessed that I survived. Please learn from this and don't get yourself in this type of situation.
    ________

    It was several years ago. I was on an engine company. We ran several calls during the night. I finally hit the hay around 0545. Unfortunately we were tapped out at 0551 for a possible attic fire about 12 blocks from our house. We were on the scene in 2 minutes.

    The house is a 1.5 story wood frame, single family. Nothing showing from outside, but there is light smoke on the main floor inside. It is coming from a light fixture in a bedroom on the 1-2 corner. We cut the power at the breaker box and started our search.

    I was told to check upstairs. At the top of the stairs, on the 1-4 corner, is the entrance to the walk in closet. This closet has a slanted ceiling, consistent with half stories. It ran the length of side 1. Smoke was heavy enough to require wearing my mask.

    I crawled to the end (which is at the 1-2 corner) and found a partition wall. In this wall was a hatch, which leads to the attic space above the bedroom with the smoking light fixture. The hatch is cool to the touch, moderate smoke coming out into the closet. I opened the hatch and found that the smoke is coming from under the insulation. The insulation is blown in shreaded paper.

    I had a water can with me, so I radioed my captain with my report and started to work on the hot spots. After setting up salvage tarps downstairs, the other members of the companies on scene were using hooks from below. They handed me a TIC and I was told to call out the hot spots and they would get them from below.

    After a while the smoke lifted. So I unhooked the regulator from my mask. Then the wind outside shifted, which blew all the smoke back in on my position. I got a good lung full and instinctively I re hooked the regulator back into my SCBA mask.

    But it was too late. I started coughing and hacking. My lungs started to do what I believe was spasms. I suddenly found myself unable to take a breath. Instinctively I turned the bypass valve, and tried to use it like we would use a BVM on a patient. Unfortunately this did not work.

    I gotta get control of my breathing, NOW!

    I knew that I was having severe problems getting my breathing under control. I knew that I was past the point of self controlling the situation. I needed to get out.

    I hit the distress button on the PASS device and then put my hand on the wall to feel my way out. Then I got tangled in some dresses that were hanging in the closet. At this point I was near panic. I ripped myself free from the dresses, and in the process kicked over the water can, which landed against a TV set, & knocked out the picture tube. The noise from that pushed me further toward a panic.

    CALM DOWN! BREATHE! I CAN'T BREATHE! GET OUT WHILE I STILL CAN! PRETTY SOON I WILL PASS OUT, AND THIS IS NOT THE PLACE FOR THAT. STAY CALM! FEEL THE WALL, CRAWL TO SAFETY!

    I wriggled my way free from the dresses, and crawled head-on into the wall. At this point my captain arrived and grabbed my SCBA strap and dragged me out of the closet.

    Now outside the closet, I tried to stand up, but lost my balance. Down the stairs we went. My captain and another firefighter helped me walk outside, to the ambulance. Once outside I was finally able to regain control of my breathing. After a trip to the ER I went home.

    The following shift, this incident was quite the topic of discussion. A lot went wrong.
    • We split the crew into one man teams. That right there was stupid.
    • I entered a fire compartment alone. What a dumb@$$ thing to do.
    • I removed my regulator from my SCBA mask while there was still active (albeit hidden) fire. After 10 years as a firefighter, one would think I shoulda known better.
    • When the fit hit the shan, instincts - which came from good training throughout my career - took over. I did reconnect the regulator. I remembered to feel the wall to get out. I did try to regain control of my breathing.
    • What went wrong? I did. Plain and simple.
    • We thought this nuisance fire was totally routine, and in fact, the way we behaved toward this fire we acted as though this was beneath us. Shame on us. We all should have known better.
    • I didn't think I was taking risks with my actions. There's the problem, I didn't think. Shame on me.
    • There was no life hazard in this fire. All residents of this residence were accounted for on our arrival, and a primary and secondary search revealed that the house was all clear of life safety issues. Looking back, I should have joined my company members and worked it totally from downstiars. But then hindsight is always 20/20.
    • I should have had my head out of my @$$ and used contimuing size up and realized that it was not safe to do what I did.
    • Opening the hatch to the fire area could have -- and likely should have -- given the fire a fresh supply of air, which could flare it up. The fire was deep seated and had been smoldering for quite a while.

    Like I said above, this was several years ago. I had 10 years experience. I should have known better. This was a humbling experience for me. I again wish to state, I wrote this post not to brag, not for sympathy, but to teach. Please learn from this mistake. Don't become a statistic.

    Stay safe.

  9. #9
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    Unhappy Stupidity


    Well, I will have to say I have had many. But perhaps the scariest is May 26, 1990. I was conduting a training exercise in the back of the station and for a couple reasons...NONE of them justified..I was only wearing Coveralls and black 10" boots. The drill was for car fires and I was assisting in lighting the fires. We were using just a small amount of diesel on some straw in the cars and a flare to light it. The first couple went off with no hitch. Then...as I light the last fire (typical) and turned to walk away, I felt the percussion (seemed to be an explosion) of energy waves behind me and was almost knocked to the ground. I thought...wow...that was bad...and as I looked down, my right coverall leg was on fire. Before it was over, I had 2nd and 3rd degree burns to my right leg and was off for 50 working days (Monday-Friday) and had to wear a bandage on the newly developing skin until December. My life flashed in front of me when I realize I was burned. My burns were full circumferance of the leg from the top of the 10" boot to the top of my thigh. I wanted my kids the most and tried to remember if I had kissed them goodbye that morning.

    What happened??? Well, we had apparently splattered some of the liquid on my pants. We did not realize that due to problems we were having with water in the fuel at the station pumps (severe problems) a lot of additive had been added to remove the water and it had effectively lowered the flash point of the fuel. Apparently there was still a smoldering fire in the car and the heat had increase the vapors and it flashed back...and when it did, the fireball engulfed my pants leg and ignited the fuel. Why else did it happen? Because I was stupid and did not wear the proper level of PPE. I became complacent with the "Nothing will happen to me Syndrome!" I paid for it!!!!

    So...now you will see why I am very anal retentive about personnel wearing the proper level of PPE. I would like for everyone to learn from my stupidity. It was the most painful injury I have every indured. At that time I had been in the service as a volunteer for 19 years and as a Career Firefighter for 11. I was the Station Captain and I failed miserably at leading by example. And those medics on duty that day....well...they fought over who was gonna "stick" the captain.

    I am sure I will receive some flack from some of you over this...and I can only say...I am sure I deserve it. I learned from my mistake and I hope that anyone who reads this does the same!

    Stay Safe...

    PS>>>I had been mulling over whether to start a new thread on some subject for my 600th post. Well...this one answered that question for me. What more fitting way to go to #600 that to share information that could possibly save someone.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Everyday.....when I read some of the cadet posts...I'm scared of our future!
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

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    Thumbs up



    Stayback 500....you better behave....
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    i almost got blasted from the side while responding to a call
    i didnt hear the engine that is housed 2 blocks from our house give a 21 and i had the green light on a blind intersection, i had tunnel vision because 2 blocks up was our rig pulling out of the house. i never heard their sirens just saw a big red 70's american lafrance barreling twords me ...with a hard right i turned my jeep up on 2 wheels and evaded the accident, we were on a signal 13 ( go home ), by the time i got to my firehouse, i was white as a ghost and shaking, i only had 2 months in the dept.
    " truck till the casket drops "

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    My views and opinions do not represent the views and standards of the Department or Company that I belong to.

  13. #13
    JTL
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    Without a doubt it was listening to our chief trying to speak english. Scared me to death. Still wake up hearing "Wuu-eeeee"


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    Default scariest moment

    I would have to say the recent Sydney bushfires would have to be the scariest moment. When you are faced with a 50ft wall of flame and all you have between you and the house you are saving is your trusty TFT and a truck with 2000 litres of water you hope all goes well and that Nomex actually works! But there is some comfort, the sky crane ELVIS is close by if things go pear shaped and its 9000 litres goes a long way.

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    Scariest Moment:
    We got a call to a supermarket full of smoke, on arrival I was the officer in charge and I had 4 firefighters with me and another pump with 5 on the way. The fire station is only 200 meteres from the supermarket and across a road. I did a 360 degree run around, and noticed that both of the main doors on opposite sides were open about 1 metre (3 feet) each. The smoke was down to ground level and pouring out of the doors and from under the eaves all around the building, there was no heat in any of the glass windows or doors that I checked on the way around. I had a crew don BA and go in with a hose line to look for the fire. I then sent two more crews in to do the same. The first crew were told to look for access to the first floor and look down on the main building, while the other two crews were told to search for the seat of the fire. Radio messages back to me were saying that the building was hot and getting hotter, the last two crews said that they were coming out as it was too hot and one of the new guys was starting to feel uncomfortable.{I had requested more pumps and more fire fighters and a senior officer, the pumps had to come from the next town 20 miles away.} As they exited the building a tongue of flame licked out of the ceiling and cracked a window near to where I was standing, I told the first crew to get out NOW!! and their radio message was that they were already on the way out. I looked up and the whole buiding flashed over, one second there was no fire , just smoke, and then the whole building was alight and the flames had punched through the ceiling and the roof. My crew was still inside and I thought they had died. This was my scariest moment.

    A few seconds later they stepped out of the fire, completey unharmed, this was the greatest moment of relief and happiness of my career.

    They had used a cone spray over their heads and that had absorbed most of the heat, however their helmets were burnt so bad they had to be replaced. I am glad they knew what they were doing.
    D. Camp

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    December 22, 1997 we were dispatched mutual aid on a structure fire. The house was two-story in the middle with both a finished attic and a basement, so that part was actually four stories. Projecting off the #2 was a two-car garage, and off #4 was a 1-sty section with the front door in it.

    The fire was pretty well involved and we sent a crew in through that door. One of them came out to request a backup crew, and moments after he went back in, the whole 1-sty part collapsed. Flat. I was to have been on that second crew and was arriving with the nozzle when it dropped. I will never forget kicking that door open and seeing their line trail off into the orange, with those ceiling joists laying ahead of me.

    Fortunately the guys escaped through a rear door (and even saved the nozzle!) One had 2nd deg. burns on his wrist, which was also dislocated. Now THAT was a relief.

    Woody sez:

    We were going out (mutual aid)(to Westchester)(on a big barn fire) when the chief (he runs a concrete truck)(but he can leave his work for fires)(handy huh) tells me go take an ax to that guy. I say not without a radio (i dont know why)(but I did) So the chef finally givs me a radio and i walk toward the fire and I hear (this hissing sound)(from my left) and about that time the big deezel tank BLEVVYs and I hit the dirt and I yell (on the radio)(and out loud) HELP ME. i was ok but my bunkers got nasty.

  17. #17
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    This is going to sound stupid. But we went on a call of a man down. We get to a retirement mobile home park. I was met by the mans son in law he stated "Its bad he is coved with ants." So we got inside and and it smelt bad and the man was covered with ants. I went to check his pulse to comfirm. When I touched him he moved and groaned. SCARED THE HELL out of me. I thought that he had passed away. We stripped him and got a warm soapy towel and gave him a quick wipe down. The poor man's hip gave way and he couldn't get up. Down for about a week.
    dz

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    I had been in the department for about 3 weeks. I was on an engine at 2:30 AM coming back from a false automatic alarm that our dept. gets about 7 or 8 times a month. On the truck was another rookie (in dept. about 2 wks), another member that had been in for about a year and the driver (who had been in about 5 yrs). The radio suddenly goes wild with reports of a fully involved structure with people jumping out of the 2nd floor windows

    We pull up to a 2 story house and we can see flame covering the entire front of the house. The driver yells at us not to get out of the engine until he tells us. He pulls up further and tells us to watch out for the live electric wire that he had just run over!! We got out of the truck and the guy that had come into the dept right after me totally FROZE. I ended up telling him to get the nozzle on the crosslay and hand it to the 1 year member, and she and I took the hose up while the driver got the pump going. We hit the front of the house and got it partially knocked down and we realized that the BACK OF THE HOUSE was fully engulfed also. Everyone was out of the house, and the other trucks showed up, so the fire was out quickly, but it seemed like we were the only ones doing anything for an ETERNITY!!

    We later found out it was an arson fire, using molotov cocktails on both the front and back doors. It was due to an ongoing dispute between hatian immigrants and guatemalan immigrants!!

    I never did figure out what the other rookie did while we were putting the fire out!! He only lasted in the dept. a few months.....
    9/11/01 Never forget Never forgive

    Dusty, working on Crusty IACOJ

  19. #19
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    My scariest moment was at a structure fire several years ago. We were mutual aid and the primary department was in defensive mode. We arrived and I was instructed to spray water into a bedroom window. So as I'm spraying water at the fire with my head sticking in the window, the gun cabinet with ammo starts popping. I quickly hit the ground and waited a couple of minutes. Afterward we found out that the flames I was spraying was a mirror reflecting the fire in the gun cabinet next to me. It was a good fire that I learned from and now I pass it on to the rookies so they can learn from my experiences.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
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    Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

  20. #20
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    Mine was a few years ago, responded to a house fire, received further info enroute that furniture and a pile of ironing in the lounge room were on fire but everyone was accounted for. I'm on the branch with a newish firefighter, making progress into the lounge room, had stopped it getting into the structure, when he decides that it is getting a bit hot for him and hurls a heavy metal ornament that he'd found through the window - that faced a howling gale. It was just like someone had stuck the PPV in the window. Goddamn! The fire flared something huge, flames are blowing over my head horizontally and I had to back out to the doorway and fight my way in again (without the help of the other member who had by now fled). Fortunately the back up line appeared shortly after and we were able to save most of the house.

    When I exited the house the OIC took one look at my face and knew that I needed about ten minutes alone to calm down before anyone came near me - to say the least I was very ****ed!
    Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1

    ...and before you ask - YES I have done a Bloody SEARCH!

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    I would have to say the scariest moment as a firefighter was when I was struck by a ford explorer and dragged 60 feet.
    My company was dispatched to a vehicle extrication involving 5 cars with one of the vehicles upside down resting on two other vehicles. In my opinion, it looked a lot worse than it appeared. We were clearing from the scene when a ford explorer came flying into the scene and almost crashes into to the original accident. the driver proceeds to back up and come back through the scene, in process intentionally hits me and then drags me. The PD on location start shooting at the car. The driver swerved and I was thrown out onto the roadway. I wound up with a broken femur, broken ribs, fractured vertebrae, and various cuts and bruises.
    I am still firefighting, but a little more cautious. Be safe out there

  22. #22
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    sec33, I'm glad to see that you're still with us! I seem to recall such an incident or something very much like it being broadcast on one of those reality tv shows one time. Was it your incident?
    --jay.

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    Jay911-
    Thanks for welcoming me back. unfortunately, That is footage of my accident that is on all of the reality TV shows. From what I understand, that footage is being used by a lot of fire departments and police departments around the United States.Real TV really loves to show it. It does get annoying though, since everyone comes up to me and says I saw you on TV again. But, oh well what are you going to do. But once again, thank you. Be safe

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    Sec33;

    Was this the incident in Plymouth Meeting, PA? I live a few townships over and boy, were we ****ed when we saw/heard about it.

    Originally posted by sec33
    Jay911-
    Thanks for welcoming me back. unfortunately, That is footage of my accident that is on all of the reality TV shows. From what I understand, that footage is being used by a lot of fire departments and police departments around the United States.Real TV really loves to show it. It does get annoying though, since everyone comes up to me and says I saw you on TV again. But, oh well what are you going to do. But once again, thank you. Be safe

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    I have not really been scared - yet - (26 years in Law Enforcement before I joined the Fire Service, so I tend to stay calm) but I want to thank those of you who set your egos aside to teach the rest of us. I for one have learned from your revealing statements. You have no doubt saved me some pain.

    THANK YOU!

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