Day 4: Gearing up.

It fit
uncomfortably at first, and I felt very much like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow
Man. Despite this, I stood in the apparatus bay feeling very manly; the four of
us had just been fitted for our first set of firefighting gear.

Mike, Rich, Carl, and I had retrieved a full set of gear—helmet, coat, pants, gloves, and
boots—from a big closet full of old equipment. Everyone at the academy used old
stuff that was recycled every year. It was dirty as hell and smelled like a
house fire… and that’s why we liked it so much.

It’s a very
comforting feeling to be bundled up in clothing that you know can protect you
from hundreds of degrees of heat. The whole process took about twenty minutes
to get everyone fitted, and then we secured all of it in our lockers.

We can’t wait
to use it. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a while before we’ll be anywhere
near something that’s on fire.
Protocols, precepting, PT… this is going to be a long month and a half.

The remainder
of the day was spent asking one of the instructors (who is a
firefighter/paramedic himself) about the job, the people, and who has what
reputation as good/bad houses. We all strive for a fun, busy house with
hardworking crew members and lots of tradition—I wonder how many of us will be
so lucky as to land in one.

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