I recently completed a “Fire fighting and Fire prevention” course. Yep, I bet you didn’t see that one coming. I now know: the classification of fires and the appropriate extinguishing agents for each; the best way to contain a fire; how to roll out a fire hose, connect and operate the different nozzles to the hose; search and rescue wearing a self-contained breathing apparatus; and of course…put out a fire!
Please hold the applause for later
The final assessment was simple. Enter the smoky storage container by ladder, manoeuvre through the various obstacles and put out three fires whilst dressed in full fire fighting gear including fire boots and a 16kg breathing cylinder attached to your back. This is what I remember…
As I cautiously descend the ladder into the smoky abyss, I hear the ferocious heat before I feel it- radiating through the thick, smoky space. I take a moment to allow my eyes to adjust to the room; then, as I gaze into the darkness my eyes confirm what my brain already knew:
I can’t see anything.
Undeterred I crouch down and with smoke hovering above me like an ominous thundercloud about to burst; I slowly feel my way to the smouldering wall. In the distance, through various obstacles, I spot the glow of a firefly leaping towards the steel roof. It flutters then grows and grows. My heart beats a little faster; beads of sweat nestle on my eyebrows as I slowly draw breath from the oxygen cylinder. Finally, the firefly explodes into a multitude of colours and the inferno is revealed.
I confidently grab the water hose and bravely crawl towards the heat. As I draw near, I reach an obstacle. Drats… It looks like I will have to crawl through a make-shift tunnel.
No problem but time is of the essence. So, I launch myself onto my stomach and manoeuvre my way, elbow first, through the tunnel. Something suddenly pulls me back, I try to move forward but can’t. The cylinder of oxygen on my back is caught in the obstruction. I sigh, and like a pro, I roll onto my side simultaneously dislodging the cylinder, slide out and then jump onto my haunches.
As I emerge, the cracking sound of burning wood and steel grumbles through the hot, pulsating air. I grab onto the hose, pull it through the tunnels. I brace myself on one knee. Upon seeing me, the fire snaps and screams like a child throwing a tantrum it hurls long, finger-like flames towards me protesting its imminent demise. I remain steady and determined. I aim at the base of the fire. I shout a command to my team: ‘WATER …NOW!’
A loud rush of water bursts through the hose and in two short blasts. The fire is gone.
All in a days work.
If there’s something strange, (FIRE) in your neighbourhood.
Who you gonna call?
tee di tee di tee di tee di dadada
I ain’t afraid of no Fah-yah!
tee di tee di tee di te di dadada
I ain’t afraid of no Fah-yah!!
Note to self:
“Girls who fight fires, Kick Ass”