Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spokane Valley Fire Department Station 8 and Admin Building

Greetings, my little chickadees.

Last Saturday I invaded  attended the Station 8 and Administration Building open house here in sunny Spokane Valley.  I was bouncing around for days beforehand because this is my home station – located within spitting distance of my house, if you are a really, really good spitter.

I pulled in to the station to see Ladder 1 fully extended, sporting the American flag and looking generally awesome.  I wasn’t the first one there, but I was close.  My goal is to arrive early at these events, as I find that the people involved aren’t overly occupied and/or harried, and are willing to give me more of their attention.  Also, when you get there first, the cookies aren’t picked over yet. Win-win.

About this time, the local TV news van pulled up.  As the dominant journalist on site, I immediately approached the van, ordered them off the premises, and then let the air out of their tires (a move which, in retrospect, was self-defeating).    Actually, I had every intention of doing so, but they didn’t stay very long.  They probably recognized me and determined that I had it covered.  Oh, and I did.

My tour started in Station 8, which was not the “new” building.  However, get this – one interesting facet of this open house is the “name the fire station” contest.  Tradition says that the fire station is a community building, a safe spot; a gathering place, if you will.  The local fire hall belongs to the community, and SVFD decided that the community will name it.  So next to the cookie tray, there was a box to cast your ballot for the neighborhood station name.  Being the new girl in town, I know nothing of this neighborhood, so my ability to come up with a catchy, trendy, historically reflective name….nothing.  But there’s no way I’m letting the opportunity to win something pass me by, so of course I submitted one.  I’ll tell you about my vote in a bit.  (In the literary world, we call that a “tease”.)

Fireman/Paramedic Tom Carleton- who is an all-around nice guy, by the way – stepped up to the plate and offered to give me a tour of the station.  My first thought - nice kitchen!  The appliances are gas.  How very city-like.  Anyway, it’s all set up automatically shut off when the crew gets toned out, so they don’t have to remember to shut everything off when they leave.  There’s a reset button on the wall to fire everything back up again when the crew returns home.  I thought, momentarily – “Gee, wouldn’t it be sweet of Kat to stop by and make some dinner for her heroes?”  Momentarily, as I’ve never in my life used a gas stove….and burning down the fire house would be bad form, now wouldn’t it.  But it’s the thought that counts, and I thought it.

Right next to the huge kitchen was a TV room, complete with many, many Lazy Boys.  Tom says that the crew has an activity calendar each day that keeps them pretty busy; no time for TV until after 4:30 each day.   I wanted to ask him how many of those recliners would be filled at 4:35, but I restrained myself.  I figure they deserve a little TV time.

So get this – as is industry standard, the crew prepares and eats dinner as a group.  Turns out that whichever apparatus is out on a call around dinner time, stops off at the local Piggly Wiggly and picks up groceries.  Even firefighters pick up dinner on their way home from work.  I, for one, thought that was hysterical.  In fact, I was the ONLY one that thought that was hysterical.

The basement housed the gym.  The first thing I noticed where various and sundry rings suspended on ropes from the ceiling… a little Fifty Shades, maybe?  But no, they are for pullups/pushups.  Of course.  Cough cough.

After a quick walkthrough of the dorms – which were stark white, we could definitely use a little Pottery Barn-I headed for the Administration Building, where I met up with Chief Thompson.  Two highlights – one, another gym facility.  Chief says that administrative workers get 3 hours a week to use the equipment.  I asked if that included CERT team members….his look told me that the answer was “perhaps not.”  Number two - a beam from the World Trade Center placed in the lobby on September 11, 2011.  Of course I had to take my Tierney dog tag along for the tour, and here’s a photo of it:


You may recall my earlier tease.  My station name submission was “Tierney Station.”  I’m positive that nobody else would know what it means, but I figure Johnny would have gotten a kick out of having a station named after him.  How many probies can make that claim?

And that point, Thor stopped by to squeeze me.  The best part is, he got roped into a facility tour before he found me, so in order to squeeze me, he had to spend like 20 minutes walking through the administration building and looking at cubicles.  It’s actually rather romantic if you think about it.

As with all things, my day at Station 8 came to an end.  I just called the SVFD and learned that the fire station remains unnamed.  Evidently my vote didn’t make the cut; but then again, nobody else's did, either.   I must go now and brainstorm.


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