It’s fair to say that anyone’s first time into a burning building as a firefighter is stressful. There’s so much to remember, so much to do, the urgency of the situation, the desire to meet your officer’s expectations, your expectations and the looming threat of injury and/or death. A new firefighter’s on-the-job experience has to start somewhere. If we all keep our equipment up to speed, train hard every day and trust those around us, we’ll do well. My first fire… I think I ran around the truck 100 times in 3 minutes looking for an appropriately sized hook to pull a ceiling that had already burned through. There was no roof on the place. Eventually I got into the building and we put the fire out, but I was guilty of almost all the things in this comic. Humor at my expense, enjoy.
10. Make friends. Sometimes this happens well before the fire. Think about all the other times you bump into brothers and sisters in the fire service… Other mutual aid incidents, classes, fundraising events, hiring processes, just out at the local watering hole.
9. Eagerly accept your task. Sitting on a 2 1/2” outside or being assigned R.I.T. while everyone goes in is not glamorous and will likely get your photo in the newspaper (which leads you to buy dinner for the crew) but it’s an essential role that needs to be filled. The IC needs to see that even in “less fun” roles, you are focused, eager and engaged in you assigned fire ground operation.
8. Never hang out at rehab. You’re sweaty, tired, dehydrated but here’s the deal… Most of us only get a few fires each year so why are we gonna hang out at rehab? Send a crew member to get water for each of you while you stand or take a knee near the IC or Operations Officer.
7. Be focused. Look at the building, talk about where the fire is, what is happening, pre-plan exits, read the smoke. The IC and Ops Officer can hear you and they want crews they can trust and have some idea of what is happening.
6. Always be 100% ready. That means dressed in full turnouts, hood, helmet, gloves, SCBA on, mask at the ready, tool in hand. When you’re given an assignment, Incident Command and/or Ops wants you to go to work now, not 5 minutes later while you figure out how to get the hood out of your inner coat pocket and dress properly.
5. Be firefighter fit. If you are only good for 5 minutes on air while doing work and completely spent after your first bottle, everyone can see that. They will see you stumbling, moving without a sense of urgency and most likely, your crew won’t complete the task you were assigned. The IC needs things done and he/she needs your crew to finish it when possible so the other 500 tasks can be assigned to the next available crews.
4. Help the interior crews from the outside without getting in the way. Hump hose at the door, pull kinks, remove debris from the hose and entry point. This will put you front and center for the IC or Ops Officer to see that you want to be involved.
3. Position your crew very near Incident Command or if possible, next to the Operations Officer. When they need a crew, they don’t want to look far. Being by their side almost ensures assignments get to your crew first.
2. Have an aggressive officer who is good at being political with Incident Command. It’s who you know and your officer has likely been around long enough to know some faces, know some names and get you some work.
1. Develop and maintain a good reputation. A good individual reputation is something you can control 100% but the reputation of your respective department is important too. Whenever you and your members wear a department shirt, uniform or PPE, they have the opportunity to help and/or hurt the department’s reputation.
When I am called to duty, God,
wherever flames may rage,
give me strength to save a life,
whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child
before it is too late,
or save an older person from
the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert,
and hear the weakest shout,
quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling,
to give the best in me,
to guard my friend and neighbor,
and protect his property.
And if according to Your will
I must answer death’s call,
bless with your protecting hand,
my family one and all.
– Author Unknown
Originating from the Boston area in the early days of the fire service, a firefighter would use a key that was in the shape of a “J” to open fire alarm boxes allowing them to tap out a signal to the fire alarm office. This complicated telegraph-style system was the only means of communication from the fire ground in those days. The honorable position of a firefighter receiving this assignment and the shape of the key he carried earned him the title of “Jake”. Over the years the position has evolved but the nickname stuck. Today it’s commonly used across the United States whenever speaking about a firefighter.
To celebrate EMS Week I’m running a sale in the Online Shop! All posters and postcard sets are $4 off. Holy guacamole is that a sweet deal. Go tell your friends, tell your family, share the links and send some internet traffic my way. These were all hand drawn by me and then colored digitally. I’ll even sign yours at no extra charge… In fact, I should actually reduce the price if I sign it. I’ll think about it for a little bit.
Here’s the link: shop.jakescomic.com
EMS Week is May 17-23, that’s this Sunday so maybe a little history lesson so we know what it’s all about and why it matters.
In 1973, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS, its practitioners and the important work they do in responding to medical emergencies. Back then, EMS was a fledgling profession and EMS practitioners were only beginning to be recognized as a critical component of emergency medicine and the public health safety net.
A lot has changed over the last four decades. EMS is now firmly established as a key component of the medical care continuum, and the important role of EMS practitioners in saving lives from sudden cardiac arrest and trauma; in getting people to the hospitals best equipped to treat heart attacks and strokes; and in showing caring and compassion to their patients in their most difficult moments.
Whether it’s the team at Grady EMS in Atlanta who had the expertise to transport the nation’s first Ebola patient, the volunteer firefighters and flight medics called to search for and rescue survivors in the Everett, Wash. mudslide or the thousands of EMS responses that happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and don’t make the news, EMS is there for their communities at their greatest time of need.
Visit www.emsstrong.org for loads of info that might help your organization get the word out.
I’m gonna sneak in a few older comics when I can on Wednesdays. Trying to redraw some since the characters are all different but a couple already fit the format. I’ll still post a brandy-new comic on Mondays though so don’t think I’m cheating. Just think of the Wednesday stuff as a bonus.
My first attempt at a “show” drawing people, setting up a table, promoting my stuff and all that. Here are a couple pics of the table. I didn’t really have any expectations, maybe some questions and a few confused people. Overall I think people were curious. Honestly there isn’t much happening on the site, I’m only a few comics into the run and the archives all came down because things have changed so much. I’ll probably sneak in those strips redrawn with the current characters and then reposted just to keep consistency but at least I’ve started. Now the question is whether or not to get a table at Comic Cons. Not sure if my comic really speaks to the general population but my lovely wife says I might be surprised. So we’ll see. The good news for y’all… More poop jokes!
I had the pleasure this past weekend of selling some stuff at the Central NH EMS Conference to raise money for the NH EMS LODD Memorial that is being planned. Some of the folks associated with the NH Fire Academy had me draw them and here is what I came up with.