Monday, October 24, 2011

Featured House: Spokane Fire Department Station #2

Okay, when I said this blog was launching on January 1st, I didn't realize that I would be in Spokane on the weekend of an open house at a fire station.  However, FaceBook informed me that I would be - and you know I'm not passing up the opportunity to hang out with a bunch of firefighters, especially on a day when it's not really cold outside and my hair looks good.

So the Spokane Fire Department Station 2 on North Foothills Drive is the very first "featured house" of our new blog.  For all of you fire houses to follow, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you have some big shoes to fill.  These guys were awesome and I felt like a rock star. I would have to say my favorite part was when they actually let me drive the pumper/ladder truck down Foothills Drive with the sirens wailing.

Okay, they didn't really let me do that.  But then again, I didn't ask. 

I was put into the very capable hands of Lt. Wisniewski, who gave me the station tour and answered my questions.  (Poor guy.) 

(Scene:  Tina and Lt. W standing in front of this truck)

Lt. W:  This is our pumper/ladder truck.  Do you know what it's for?

Tina:  Why yes, I do.  You see, I watch "Rescue Me", so I know that you use this truck to access flaming upper-story apartment windows, where people fling small children out to be caught by Tommy Gavin and hauled to safety.

Lt. W:  Uh, yeah.

I think he was really super-impressed that I got it right.

They didn't let me try any of this stuff on.  But then again, I didn't ask.

Turns out that Station 2 has a Water Rescue Unit:

And I'm saying that the only thing hotter than a guy that's willing to yank your sorry, oxygen-deprived panicky ass out of a burning building is one that's willing to yank your sorry, oxygen-deprived panicky ass out of the Spokane River.  Seriously.

You know what I love about the Spokane Fire Department?  I'll tell you what I love about the Spokane Fire Department.  They have NO AGE LIMIT for their new hires, unlike some other fire departments which shall remain nameless. (cough FDNY cough.) 

(Scene:  still standing in front of the pumper/ladder)

Tina:  Did you know that you can't test for FDNY if you are over 29?

Lt W:  Yes, I think I remember hearing that.  We don't have an age limit.

Tina:  Well, I was going to test for FDNY this year, but believe it or not, I'm over 29.

(crickets chirping)

Lt W:  Don't you also have to live in New York?

Tina:  Minor detail.

It just occurred to me that Lt. W didn't immediately run into the fire hall and get me some sort of academy application.  Must have slipped his mind.

So I got to see some pretty spectacular pics from the SFD slideshow:

And got my hands on a few stats.  Turns out that Engine 2 was out of service for several years due to budget cuts, and was put back in service on July 25, 2011.  Since then, Engine 2 has responded to 49 structure fires.  Yeah.  FORTY NINE in 3 months.  Here in the boonies, we call that a DECADE of responses, not a QUARTER. 

Go Engine 2.  You rock.  And hello, Mayor/Council of Spokane - you mothball the big, shiny fire truck when you want to save some dough?  That was your BEST idea?

So, here's one final shot of Station 2 - oh, and me.  Thanks for letting me crash your party, gentlemen. 

Spokane Fire Department - Fire Incidents
Incidents 2006 2005 2004 2003
Alarm System - Two Apparatus 1,489 1,337 1,425 1,422
Structure Fire - Single Engine 891 827 783 785
Service Call - Single Engine 349 382 416 342
Structure Fire - Full Response 334 353 345 334
Alarm System - Single Engine 367 343 361 344
Vehicle Fire - Single Engine 229 252 243 236
Hazmat - Investigation 257 208 234 291
Brush/Wildland - Single Response 128 94 92 108
Refuse/Trash/Dumpster Fire 82 73 82 72
Structure Fire - Working Fire 55 72 55 84
Brush/Wildland - Medium Response 39 54 38 77
Brush/Wildland - Low Response 48 46 59 38
Brush/Wildland - High Response 56 43 21 67
Hazmat - Full Response 41 31 37 34
Extrication - Full Response 22 20 26 36
Marine Rescue 19 12 7 12
Investigation 8 8 4 6
Tech Rescue 3 5 2 3
Hazmat - Team Response 4 1 4 4
Brush/Wildland - Extreme Response 14 0 8 6
CISD 0 0 1 2
Total Fire Call Incidents 4,435 4,161 4,243 4,303