Tough fire and rescue training produces more skilled fire and rescue personnel and safer communities.
Work has pulled me to the DC area during the week and home has pulled me to West Virginia on weekends and holidays. One of my tasks around DC is to provide medical support for a group of rescuers specially trained in structural collapse, confined space, trench, and ropes. Simultaneously, I remain on the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department and dive team. It is the best of all worlds.
My primary field is medicine, and while I have helped pull victims from fires and entrapments, my primary usefulness comes once the patient is out. I admire people who risk themselves to rescue people and keep them alive until they get to people like me. Such work requires imagination, skill, intelligence, and courage, which was demonstrated at an exercise in northern Virginia in September of 2020.
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The young man stood silent and motionless, holding a baby boy as he stared at the raging fire. The tongues of flame had consumed his garage and everything in it. Now they had jumped to his sport utility vehicle (SUV) parked close by. The single wide mobile home that he and his wife shared with their children stood about ten feet away. Thankfully, his family had escaped uninjured. The siding had been damaged by the heat of the fire, but the house had not caught…yet.
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Shooting, including hunting, tactical training, and target practice, is both enjoyable and educational. It is a good way to enjoy friends and family, and to provide for and protect yourself and those you love in times of need. Safe shooting should be a core skill for all interested Americans.
Last week I went to the gun range to shoot with one of my sons. Over the years, members of our family have spent many hours on ranges and hunting grounds from Alaska to Germany. Shooting is a useful skill and a pleasant pastime, and we were glad to find the range open again after COVID-19. As we use our weapons, we try to keep several factors in mind:
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A few months at the Citizens’ Police Academy helps us see law enforcement officers in a better, and more human, light.
I was about to leave for school when I heard the loudspeaker. Looking out my window on that winter morning, I saw a police cruiser, some uniformed officers, and one policeman speaking into a handset, telling me to come out of the house. I walked out my front door, oblivious to the fact that I had my hands in my pockets on this cold day. The officers instantly drew their guns and aimed at me, shouting for me to take my hands out of my coat. Startled, I complied. One of the men moved me to the car, put my hands against it, and searched me, saying that shots had been fired at my location. Later my younger brother came out of the house – he had been setting off fire crackers.
I have had a few other interactions with police in my life. Once a lady in a campus clothing store called the police on me because she thought that I lingered there too long and she found it threatening. More than once I have seen the dreaded flashing blue lights of a police cruiser in my rear-view mirror. Driving home at 0200 after a shift as a bus boy at a local restaurant, an officer stopped me. As I searched my glove box for my registration and proof of insurance, he saw a black object. The officer exclaimed “what’s that” as he drew his weapon. “A comb” I replied, and handed it to him.
Continue reading “Riding Along”