Sunday Feb 1, 2004
Well another week done, and two more weeks closer to home! Should be studying for Monday’s written exam on Breathing Apparatus,etc….but finding it hard to get motivated. You know what its like when you feel like all you’ve been doing is studying….its hard to get back to it and do even more. The good news is that after tomorrow, no more written exams…only one more Oral exam for the final (week six)…….. lets go back in time.
Sunday night. Just another Sunday. Drank beer. Ran out of beer. Drank JD instead. Its become some sort of tradition. Our hallway was kind of crazy. Funny story. Dana, one of the guys from home, bought a ball cap that had a Manchester United team logo on it. Now you have to understand how people feel about “their teams” in this country. They take Football VERY SERIOUSLY. Its up there with religion. Shit, it IS a religion. It’s kinda cool to witness such passion. Anyway, Dana picked out a hat with the wrong team logo on it. David, from Liverpool, his team is “Everton”. Doesn’t like Man United. Took Dana’s hat off his head walked over to the corner of the hallway, told everyone that he was going to piss on Dana’s hat, and to everyone’s amazement, urinated all over it!
It was sooooooooooooo funny! Everyone was howling! Dana took it really well. Things just escalated from there……It turned into a full out wedgie brawl between David and Dana which spanned two hallways. I have never, ever seen a pair of underwear do that before! In the end, Dana had the last laugh when he took he underwear off and stuffed them into Davids face. Dave just about hurled! It was a draw after that.
Earlier that evening, Alex got a haircut. He kept talking about getting a “Mr. T” haircut….and he did it! Then he didn’t like so much and just left the mowhawk. We figured since we didn’t have anymore Inspections that we should have a laugh and see what our instructors thought of Alex’s hair. They were amused Monday morning, and Alex has since cut it all off. We all though that he should have gone withthe bald look for another laugh….but we got him to do other stuff instead.
Pretty tired this morning….didin’t get to sleep til after 2 am…..trying hard to stay awake…..most of the day in the classroom which made the day kinda harsh….This week is all about Breathing Apparatus. We have to get things right here or we can’t go to the fire ground next week. The only practical thing we didi today was learning how to do a “General Check” on our equipment and how to “Don and Start” the Breathing Apparatus. Not horribly compicated, but there are a lot of steps involved, and for our Oral Exam we have to know the steps by heart exactly as they are on the lists. Ugh. My head is getting full. Needless to say because of last night, things were somewhat quiet on our floor this night…..
Better day today. The group was split in half and our group went tot he drill ground to go through our General Checks and get dressed in our turn out gear. Outside we donned our breathing apparatus and followed another Officer first at a wlaking pace, then running. The idea was to show us how much more oxygen you use when you are working hard, and how important it is to be able to control your breathing. And also to show us that you never run with your breathing apparatus on….cause it really sucks ass. After the run/walk, we had to climb the tower which is about 5 levels, keeping an eye on our pressure left in our cylinders. Once at the top we had to come back down, letting the ones with the least air go down first. The objective is to be able to get down before the Low Pressure Warning starts to go off. I did really well. I didn’t have very much in my cylinder to start with and I didn’t get into my reserve air when I was done. Then back to the classroom for the rest of the afternoon. More stuff to remember, its getting to be a bit much, big snow storm in the evening! what a blast….there was about 15 of us outside in this huge snowball fight…super funny, but youhad to be there. After I went in some of the guys built 2 “snowmen” infront of the Tech Block and namd then after our instructors…. funny lads!
Winter wonderland! The snowmen were hilarious….Only one of our Instructors made it in because of the roads, he thought the snowmen were funny.
Pretty boring day tho – we spent most of it in the classroom, more stuff to know….when does it end????
Practised more “General Checks” and “Don and Start Up” of our Breathing Apparatus….for Friday’s Oral. Not much else went on today. We did our Care Packages tonight ….it was a very nice treat to have stuff sent outto us from home. I got a “fart machine”….what a good laugh. can’t wait to use it in class tomorrow.
The Blizzard at luch was really great. Some of the lads said that they have never seen a storm like that! Normal for us Canadians, eh?
Today was a cool day! Our group got to go to the fire ground first to use the “Hot Box”. It is a large metal container and they start a huge fire in one end to make it really hot and smokey. At our end we are set into 2 teams or 2 with an Entry Control Officer where we go in. Our task was to go in with a hose, search for the 2 “downed firemen” and the “casualty they were looking for” and recover all three casualties. The idea was to experience to heat and humidity, the smoke and search and rescue techniques. This was accomplished. I loved it! Its hard work and you can get very easily disoriented in such an environment, and having to wear so much equipment and haul hoses and bodies around is quite taxing, especially on our air supply….
After tea break we went back in as a group to over what to do if you find yourself trapped or in other trouble, how to relax and save air and find a safer sopt to wait for help. While going over these techniques we took our gloves off to see just how hot it really was (our turnout gear is really protective!) and they had a plastic cofee cup on a stick and raised it up to show us the heat up higher….glad I am short!
We were back in the classroom after lunch, but we did table top excercises which was more interesting than listening to someone talk. We did mock search and rescue of 5 – 6 casualties of a 2 level building. It was a very good leaning experience and second time we did it we improved a lot…go figure. Maybe practise does make perfect!
Oh yeah, the fart machine was funny. The instructors laughed, caught onto us right away, and then had the last laugh. They took it away on a break and hid it, would give it back until I told them who did it!
Tonight was kinda quiet….some gave up on studying cause it just felt likeit wasn’t doing anything. There was a bunch of us questioning each other. We told Alex that if he got the next question wrong that he’d have to snort instant coffee. It was sooooooo funny, I think Alex has a problem…it was like he’s done that before or something!
he said that everything smells like coffee now.
Its the waiting that hard to take. You know you have an exam and you have to wait. It really sucks. The other half of the class (Blue Watch) got to stay back for their Oral Exam and the rest of us went over to the drill ground to do a Confined Space excercise. I really liked this one (and its distracted from the thought of the exam).
We had to go into another metal container that had two choices of tunnels to crawl through. Somewhere along the tunnel you would find a “casualty” which you had to bring back to the start….during all this there is no light, don’t know where you are going, you go around corners, up and down drops, and you have to keep track of your air again because you have to get out before you Low Pressure Warning goes off. My advantage…..being small even with a BA on I can make a complete turn in the tunnel with no difficulty….the guys that were bigger had a little harder time of it and it took them longer. My partner and I got out with our casualty in almost no time at all, and I had plenty of air to spare, might have even been able to do another trip inside, only because I knew where to go, if I wasn’t sure where to go I wouldn’t do it.
After that I serviced my equipment, changed, and went over to the Tech Block to have my Oral Exam. I got to go just before lunch and I was quite nervous. My examiner ws really nice, took the edge off and by the time I was halfway through the practical side of it (demonstating the Don and Start Up of Breathing Apparatus) I forgot about being nervous. The questions were luck of the draw. I had to pick from about 6 pieces of paper, each had a bunch of numbers on them, corresponding to questions in the examiners book. I got lucky with the ones I picked, cause they were the questons I was really good at. I did have to tell him the formulea to calculate the working capacity of air in a cylinder tho – glad I didn’t actuallyhave to do the math! I just had to tell him what all the symbols meant…..whew! :0
Anyway, I got 100% on it…so stoked…but we still have the written part tomorrow…and I am finding it hard to get back to my notes and go over them. So far the binder is open, but I only stare blankly at it….
Started at the Black Bull but the line up was too big so we went to the Crossed Keys for a while instead. The rest of the boys went upstairs when it opened, and Chris Steir and I went to Tall Trees. We used Chris’ VIP status at Tall Trees to walk right into the club, righ in front of this HUGE line up! Alright! Game on! Bring on the redbull/vodka’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Out on the dance floor I hooked up with this lad, who seemed to want a little more than i wanted to give him….tried to take me outside, but I’d turn and go back to the dance floor. He kinda smelled bad….wasn’t the type I was looking for anyway….I think he took a hint when I said I needed another drink and went up to the VIP area, where he couldn’t go….. They have these Dancers on stage all night and they are hot! Even the really buff, fit Black dude! Found out his name is Malcolm….. I was dancing in front of the stage later that night and he was up there dancing away….man, does he have some rhythm!!, he came over grabbed my hand, kissed it, pulled me in and kissed my cheek! :0 ohmygawd!
Found my little 18 year old “friend”, Ryan! He told me that he didn’t come out to Tall Trees last week either…..(shhhhhh, I think he LIKES me….) I pretty much hung out with him all night (didn’t see any of his buddies from last time….a couple new faces tho) he even invited me to a motel room for the night…but sadly, I had to decline….
No hangover…. Breakfast tasted really good tho!
Went to Darlington for the afternoon and shopped around….wish I had more money…its so expensive for us because of the exchange rates….sucks ass. That’s why I don’t ever get too far from base… next time will be different, I’ll come back with Johnny hopefully soon! At least I know the surrounding area quite well…
Not too exciting tonight, didn’t go out with the boys cause I was broke….but before they left got a few beers in me. We were playing 21 with “shots” of beer. Get drunk pretty fast if you suck at cards! Went to bed kinda early (11:00) and almost slept through breaky! Musta needed it I guess.
4 weeks down, 2 weeks closer to home!!!
‘Til next week – miss y’all……