Oriental Trading/ PO Box 2659/ Omaha, NE 68103-2659
heading home for Thanksgiving, i was able to get a ride from RVW’s brother (and my friend), DVW. a car ride with a good acquaintance is infinitely better than a tight, cramped, and long Chinatown bus ride with a bunch of strangers. however, our ride up to Bucks County, PA took much much longer than expected, we hit traffic every single time we entered a new state: MD, DE, and PA. but that gave us time to listen to Kanye’s new album (3 times!), Jim Gaffigan’s Beyond the Pale, and Mitch Hedburg’s Do You Believe in Gosh?
also, the ridiculous amounts of traffic gave us time to catch up. i learned that DVW is in the process of becoming a volunteer firefighter for fairfax county, va. yes, people actually volunteer to go through classes, exams, and physical training to help out with firefighting duties – for no money. while they aren’t on call, they do get pages when any firefighting activity such as a hazmat spill, or water mane leak occurs, and in some particularly huge, and complicated situations, they will be called in to support. i asked DVW if he was simply going through this lengthy, and expensive (money and time) process just so he could run into a burning building, or fight against a hurricane – for no monetary funding – but out of the goodness of his heart to save people. he said yeah, that and the free gear -> apparently a lot of t-shirts, sweats, and being able to carry around your own complete firefighting outfit in the trunk of your car.
how to be a volunteer firefighter:
- high school degree or GED, though a degree in Fire Science would be useful
- enroll with your local Fire Department and begin their training
- Physical Exam – test your ability to handle the stresses of emergency services
- EMT Basic
- VISIT (Volunteer In Station Training)
- Level I/II – classroom training about the history of firefighting but also how to tie knots
- EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operators Course) – parallel park a fire truck, and which alarm is better for a hazmat spill and a cat being stuck in a tree
- hydraulics – the fundamentals of getting water through a pump to a fire
once fully trained, DVW is expected to donate about 20 hours/month, go to the station, temporarily replace career firefighers, act as a standby to other local fire departments, and help out with bingo night (which occurs every now and then). he can serve for 6 months, or however long he wants, continue his studies to become a career firefighter, or just stay on the volunteer lines.