Friday, May 12, 2006

Fire Service Day Tomorrow

A few quick words about "Fire Service Day":

As a boy, I always loved FSD, the one day of the year when the apparatus bay doors are wide open and the local LAFD engine was pulled halfway out of the station into the driveway. The years of visiting the single-engine house in my parents' neighborhood definitely pushed me towards an eventual stint in public safety.

One year when I was about 18 or so, I embarked on my own "FSD Challenge" and tried to visit as many LAFD stations as possible during the official hours of FSD. Though I knew reaching the 103 stations in one day was impossible, I hoped to hit at least 20 or so--mostly stations I heard so often on my Bearcat Scanner, but never actually visited. I think I did about 10 to 15, or so.

Though it was many years ago and my memory is faded, I distinctly remember getting a later start than I had hoped (I think I hit the road around 10 instead of the 8 a.m. start I had visualized during the week before).

I remember driving by a bunch of stations but not stopping in. They included FS2 on the Eastside; FS17; FS3 and FS9 both Downtown; FS15 next to USC and then I headed west. I'm pretty sure I cruised by FS29 in Mid-Wilshire; FS61 near Miracle Mile; FS92 on Pico Boulevard in Rancho Park--I might have even stopped at Marty's for an "Original Combo."

The most vivid memory is ending the day at FS37 in Westwood and talking to a bunch of LAFD Explorers, where I realized that I had belatedly missed out on the opportunity to participate in the program as I was heading to college the next Fall and would be out of state!

Anyway, enjoy Fire Service Day (Even though I live in the city of Beverly Hills these days and their FSD open house is impressive), I might stop by old FS58 on Robertson Boulevard, which is the closest LAFD house--and likely part of the LAFD mutual aid contingent that gets in on it when my 1936 stucco fourplex eventually burns to the ground!

If anyone embarks on their own FSD Challenge and hits a bunch of stations, let me know!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

BHFD and the Horrors of the Private Ambulance

Just spent about 45 minutes typing a lengthy post....and I deleted it accidentally. What an asshole, I am.

Anyway, listening to BHFD and its two ALS RA's are out on calls, when they drop a GI bleed on Engine 3 and the dreaded "private ambulance." Nothing pisses off the guys at BHFD more than having to respond to a call with a private. The disdain in their voices is unmistakably clear when they announce they're responding.

To wit: Capt. on E3 says "Engine 3 responding, could you make sure the Private is coming code 3?" The dispatcher replies (annoyed): "We are." This is a moronic comment from the Engine for a number of reasons, mostly because he simultaneously blames/questions the hapless dispatcher for the predicament and, of course, sets the entire crew's mood for the poor bastards on whatever ambulance gets the lucky call.

Granted, BHFD is forced to call privates when the two ALS city units are unavailable and often the closest private ambulance has a 10 or 15+ minute ETA. A GI bleed can be a serious call that might require fast transport. So it's always funny to hear the BHFD Rescue units suddenly rush to finish their calls and get available just to keep the dreaded private ambulance off the call.

Like clockwork, Rescue 2 begins transporting Code 2 to UCLA as soon as they hear the word "private." Wouldn't shock me in the least if they get to UCLA, drop the patient off and spin around to respond to the call back on Wilshire Blvd. before the private even arrives. Strike that...looks like Rescue 1 beat Rescue 2 to the punch. Privates are out of luck in BH....again.