So the end of the semester was like most with one twist. Papers, finals and stress galore plus the added benefit of the Silver Nozzle Competition. What that is, as was explained to us, is a competition where fire teams of three compete against each other for their names being engraved on the Silver Nozzle we have. We would compete in first floor search. This however was not the twist. The twist was that it would be done in the main entrance of the College. It wasn't graded for school but more of a benchmark to see how far along we have come and so on. For some of us, the change was significant and for others, not so much. The one rule we had 100% no give on was nozzle control. Open the hose in the school, you get disqualified. As Dave our instructor said. no one had that problem before.
We rolled up into the parking lot and the hose guy would drag the hose up to the door. We then sounded for victims and pounded for floor integrity. We had to tape a towel to the halligan tool because the floor in the main area of the campus is marble. Forceful pounding and marble don't mix in case you didn't know. Anyway, we made entrance and searched, checking for victims. We found the victim down the end of the first hall. He was a 280lb fire fighter. There is one thing that I learned in the beginning of classes back in September, 280lbs of weight is heavy. There is another thing that I learned in the end of classes here this last Wednesday, 280lbs is still heavy.
We got the victim packaged up and the tool guy started dragging him. As we were pulling him out, the tool guy made it 10 ft before he got tired from dragging the guy. After that it went down hill for our group, Team 4. Our nozzle guy lost nozzle control. Water sprayed everywhere down the hallway. There was a giant puddle. In our defense the floor needed cleaning. After that I had to take over in dragging the dummy. Now this is where some of us discover how far we've come or not. When I first started, I could not drag 175lb dummy out of a building, much less a 280lb person.
At the competition, I got behind the guy and started pulling. It hurt. My muscles screamed from lack of oxygen and over-exertion. I started sucking air from my mask. I almost got over-excited. But I calmed myself, started to control my breathing and started getting into a beat and pulling the guy out. By the time we were half way back down the 100ft hallway, the tool guy was low on air, as well as the hose guy. We all started at full tanks. By the time we were 80% of the way, they both had to take off their masks. We managed to get the victim out of the building and walk back to the truck before my low air alarm started buzzing. I was amazed. I managed to keep to under a tank of air.
Well needless to say, we got disqualified. It's okay though, because I improved in every way possible. I can control my breathing, I have the endurance I need to move a person out of a building. I can step in and help as needed. It was nice to do.
After that I had to turn in my proposal in for English. Got an A in that, as well as my other classes. So for my first semester in the Fire & Rescue Program I have a 4.0. The test in Incident Command seemed hard but I did way better than I thought I would. I got a Pass in Physical Training because I improved in all four of my baselines. So I feel somewhat accomplished and relieved.
Today we had a party with money we put into the swear jar. We had 58 dollars total. I had one dollar. One kid had $20.75. Dave our instructor, gave us his retirement speech as today is his last day, and sent us off. It was a pretty epic way to end the semester.
Now all I have to look forward to is hanging out in Bozeman for the weekend, then my trip to Japan. I leave Monday. I can't wait. Which reminds me, I need to continue packing. Stay tuned for our international version of Smoke Before Fire. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!