October marks National Fire Prevention month, so who better to spend some time with than some of Roanoke County's fire and rescue experts?
Station #9 in Fort Lewis fully immersed me in a C-Shift day in the life. Much like my visit at the Vinton Fire Station, the day started with checking an apparatus. We looked specifically at the Heavy Rescue Squad which is designed for responding to auto accidents and includes rescue tools with increased power. It is crucial our Fort Lewis station has these tools as they are the primary responders to long stretches on Interstate-81 through Roanoke County. Captain Rodgers discussed the importance of these tools for multivehicle pileups or specialized accidents, i.e. tractor trailers.
Staying in shape is an important piece of the job, and this team uses the workout time as a way to strengthen comradery (and maybe some competition!). Lieutenant Schmitt writes up the day's workout circuit on the whiteboard, and the crew cycles through each step. Pictured is my reaction to being coached for 20 burpees... I didn't want to show up the team too much, so I managed my one burpee and some modified wall balls!
After wrapping up the workout, it didn't take long before we got the first call. I hopped on the back of the ambulance with Paramedic/Firefighter Schumeyer and Firefighter/EMT Ruggieri. They treated the patient and ultimately decided to transport them. Depending on the patient's needs, they will either go to Roanoke Memorial Hospital or to Lewis Gale Hospital, but it typically boils down to patient's choice.
In between calls, the team also works to stay up to date on all trainings, so I got to join in on the hose training with Lieutenant Schmitt and Paramedic/Firefighter Howell. I was surprised it wasn't heavier but can imagine that after holding the hose up to burning flames for long periods of time, it gets heavy quickly.
After every station visit, I leave with a greater sense of appreciation for all our Fire and Rescue staff do every day to keep us safe. Big thank you our Roanoke County team, and a special thanks to Station #9 for giving me the full experience!