By George Williams
Many have wondered about a day in the life of a firefighter. Well, here it is. We have to report ready for duty by 7:30 a.m. each day and we work around the clock until 7:30 a.m. the next day. We each have a small bunk room with a closet and twin bed. We make our bed each shift and unmake it and store the bed linens until our next shift. We share bathroom space. We pay for our meals, often going in together and cooking a big meal at the station. Each week consists of 24 hours on, 48 hours off. So the days of the week we work vary each week. We work every third day regardless of weekends or holidays. We average 240 hours a month on the job.
Each day begins with a check of our equipment and our assigned apparatus. We have daily duties that change depending on the day of the week. For example Monday is truck day, which means that every piece of equipment gets removed from the truck and cleaned, each compartment cleaned and all essential fluids checked. We do this for each apparatus at each station. Another example is Friday which is house day. Yes, we deep clean weekly, including floors, under furniture, dryer vents, the oven and more. Some chores have to happen daily. No one wants to come on shift to a dirty kitchen or bathroom so those are daily chores.
A firefighter is responsible for answering all emergency calls during their shift. We are also called to hundreds of non-emergency calls annually, such as patient assists, controlled burning and smoke investigations, which require our assistance. In addition, every firefighter is required to get a minimum of 240 hours of training annually. Most Woodstock firefighters get more than what is required, and last year we averaged 352 hours per firefighter. This is hands-on training in live fires, downed firefighter, and extrication, as well as search and rescue work. Classroom training includes recertifying emergency medical training and tabletop exercises on fire tactics. The training allows us to stay on top of new techniques and keeps us practicing for any given situation.
We also have other “duties” at the fire station, such as station tours and citizens who visit daily. We attend most functions in the city including concerts, KidsFest, Christmas Jubilee, July 4th festivities, Friday Night Live and annual festivals. We go to all schools (daycares included) to teach and educate citizens about fire safety, perform car seat checks and other services. We also spend time each month at senior facilities teaching about falls and safety issues.
In addition, firefighters inspect every building in the city annually for safety issues. Every hydrant has to be checked yearly as well to ensure it is in working order.
Each day offers something different. Our goal is to be prepared for the next crisis and to ensure all of our equipment (including the trucks and hydrants) are in working order and our training is up to date.
If you have questions or want to tour the station, please contact: 770-592-6000 ext.1845 or firstname.lastname@example.org.