Friday, October 2, 2009

Holding My Breath

-------***Radio Transmission***------

"I.C. this is Engine Crew 41..."

"Engine Crew 41 this is I.C. go ahead..."

"We are on the Bravo Charlie corner of the structure with downed fire fighter Holt who has a low air warning. Requesting Scott 30 minute tank and an extrication."

"You have a downed fire fighter Holt from Engine crew 41 in the Bravo Charlie corner, you're requesting a Scott 30 minute bottle and extrication..."


"We are sending in a RIT team in with a 30 minute bottle and to get you guys out of there hold tight..."

"RIT Crew inbound with air bottle and extrication..."


Laying there I did the best I could to control my breathing. After all once the air was gone I would either be sucking mask or worse. I could be sucking in the contaminants in the air around me. It seemed like forever as I laid there with my crew telling me that a Rapid Intervention Team was inbound on our location. I don't remember what happened. All I knew is I was down, couldn't move. They were there in what seemed like an eternity. I was told slow my breathing and as they undid my air pack I would at the count of three have to take a deep breath in and hold it as they shut off my oxygen and changed the air pack. I slowed my breathing down the best that I could, not knowing what was going on around me other than my pack moving around. The one fireman that told me to slow my breathing counted to three.

"1...2...3..." tapping my shoulder at each count.

I sucked in as much air in as I could until I couldn't pull in anymore. I pushed back the thoughts of not making it and not being able to breathe again into the back of my mind. I was going to get air again. I was going to be extricated. What seemed like minutes passed which in actuality was about 40 seconds, I was tapped and told to suck air in. I heaved a sigh of relief. I could breathe again. 


Then the training exercise was over. I got up and dusted the dirt of the engine bay off and popped off my mask. Our instructor Grady looked at all of us and said good job.

"Now that is what a RIT team response and bottle switch over is supposed to look like. Get used to radio chatter because that is what we will be practicing from now until you graduate..."

We had a test today that we were supposed to have on Wednesday. I rocked it and then we went over the chapters we are going to be tested on next week. After that we learned about the Incident Command System and general radio talk. Then we were set to our groups and we were told to have a man down so we could practice radio chatter and RIT team response involving a downed fire fighter with a low air warning. The downed fire fighter had to hold their breath until the next bottle was attached. I was the first downed man in my group because I can hold my breath the longest. We practiced that and rotated through that.

After that we left class with the announcement that we would be filling the smoke house with smoke on Monday. Which I am really excited for,. What I am not excited for is the Winter Storm Watch that will be taking place on Sunday.  This next week I start my CE hours for my EMT-B certification. I have 24 hours to do which I can do amongst six, four hour classes.

Other than that just doing the counting down thing until December. Stay tuned!

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