Good afternoon, some of you may know me as Josh Goetz, a fire fighter, #85, or even by my nickname. For fire prevention week 2021, I’ve been asked to share a few things with you all, and here’s some of the behind-the-scenes stuff you might not have known about fire fighting.
Why did you join the fire department? What inspired you.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wondered what it would be like to don turnout gear. On top of that, you get to go out and help people, which is pretty cool, right? I had tried to join once before, but the hours of work and the scheduling at my place of employment didn’t mesh well enough to be able to make many calls or practices. I knew quite a few people on the department, even bought my house off one, so eventually I finally decided to give it a second shot. My employment had changed, and I live very close to where the new fire hall was built. There were other small things that are obviously a bonus to being on the department such as, public education, community involvement, the lights and sirens and even inspiring younger generations to potentially do the same.
Most memorable moment with the fire department.
Hands down I would have to say the Marengo grain elevator fire was not only the most memorable, but also the most intense fire that I have experienced. I remember it like yesterday. I had just finished putting in a new facet in my kitchen sink and the tone went off. “Marengo grain elevator fire”, oh boy, this sounds like a big one. As we crested the Flaxcombe Hill in Wildland, you could see the glow lighting up the night sky and we were heading into this… crazy! There was ash and burning debris raining down all around us, almost like a perfect Christmas Day–except it wasn’t snow. At one point we had the entire highway lit up with the four different departments because we retreated after one of the massive burning storage bins collapsed on a propane tank.
What are some challenges facing fire services today?
I would have to say one massive issue the fire service faces is that we are volunteers–we drop what we are doing to get to the hall to help. But because we are volunteers, some people can’t leave their jobs all the time to make every call (although employers are more flexible and accommodating so we can help protect our community). Everyone has someone at home waiting for them, whether that be spouses, kids, animals, friends, family, etc. we drop what we’re doing to respond to the call. It’s not always pretty out there and some of the stuff you see no one should have to see.
Another issue would be recruitment and retention, sometimes the commitment, work flexibility or even the at home situation makes it too hard.
We are a family at the Fire Department, and if you’ve thought about joining and I haven’t scared you off, swing by and check it out. It will change your life.
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