This is my ladder.

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This is my ladder.

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There are many like it, but this one is mine.


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Without me, my ladder is useless.


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Without my ladder, I am useless.

—————

The past week has been spent solely on ladders. Maintaining them, learning how to carry them, throwing them up against a building, and even draggin one ladder up another ladder (crazy, huh? Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.)

On Tuesday, the first day that we were playing outside near the burn building, we actually had enough ladders to go around for each group of three to have one. That means that I was perpetually raising and lowering them, without a break to step aside and snap a picture—it figures that I wouldn't have a moment to visually capture the very event that this blog is named for. 

Damn you, irony. 

Fortunately, good images abounded all week. I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring, but it is wonderful to be outside. The days are starting to pass a lot more quickly, and we're starting to go home a lot more beat up. Fuck it; I say bring the pain. We're all hurting, but again: there's very few jobs where you can truly feel like you put in an honest days' work when you come home. We're lucky to be busting our asses like we are now. Do you know how many people go to a job every single day that they hate? If I ever end up stuck in an office building, please take me out of my misery.

I think the best part so far is the ubiquitous mentality of "just get the job done." I was always a proponent of it, but the Academy has forced me to go further out of the box than ever before. I mean, there's definitely a proper way and an incorrect (usually injury-causing) way to do something like throw a ladder, but it seems like everyone will find their own little tweaks in the method to do what needs to be done. Will your officer really wait for you to go through every single textbook step of how to run a hoseline or get a ladder up? Nope, you're just going to be expected to get Item A to Point B and function as part of the team. It's just another thing that makes me excited to go out into a company and be on this job (frankly, I've lost count of them all). 

A thought that struck me on the drive home: when I was a teenager, my Dad and I used to paint the house, fix stuff, and hang Christmas lights with a 24' extension ladder we had in the garage. 

After this week, I'll never be able to look at that ladder the same way ever again. 

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Alex Capece

Washington, D.C. Firefighter and Paramedic
Comments
stephen miller
St. Baldrick’ Support a Fellow Brother Fighting Pediatric Cancer!
Great job, brethren ... be bald (bold) even off the fire ground.
2014-02-22 09:33:24
John Struve
St. Baldrick’ Support a Fellow Brother Fighting Pediatric Cancer!
As I read all the above I wondered "How does it work?" Are fire personnel asking for pledges from the public to be paid to this charity when the personnel have their heads shaved? The ad above was not clear to me. I will read it again. The charity is certainly a very worthwhile cause.…
2014-02-22 06:20:28
“Social Media Policy”—how does it affect the bloggers? | Raising Ladders
A word of caution for the chronic Facebook addicts.
[…] over three years ago, I penned a post regarding how firefighters and EMS providers were landing themselves in hot water by using various […]
2014-01-07 17:55:57
Jonny Hope
Farewell, brother.
So very well said Brother. Mike was such an awesome guy. Sure am gonna miss him and his stories. Mike touch so many people on and off the job. Mike will continue to live on in so many of us. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful tribute with us about Mike. 
2013-12-04 21:49:48
Scott Jones
Farewell, brother.
A Very toching tribute from a true brother. Thoughts and prayers to his family and his brothers and sisters in DC.  Scott Jones, BC Springfield, MO
2013-12-04 19:38:25
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