[Friday, March 6]
The damn thing was so close to my face I could smell the mix of aluminum, dirt, and machine oil. As I hefted the beam onto my shoulder, three of us spun 180º in unison and grabbed ahold of the nearest rung. We waited for the next command, which Instructor Rogers boomed out over the yard:
"Now, we're going to go for a little walk!"
Today's instructor (who, by the way, would actually have a little picture of him holding a ceiling hook if you were to look up "salty old truck company guy"* in any dictionary) had us learning how to lift and carry ladders. There were extension ladders spread all over the asphalt near the burn building, and we were (once again) mastering new things to make our hands and limbs do.
The hardest part was easily the "in unison" bit. With two of my group of three never having done this before, our attempts at getting this 30-foot bastard into a useful carrying position were put to shame by the fluid, almost bored movements of the third. We'll get there eventually, I'm sure—Instructor Rogers will make damn certain of that.
At some point this week, I'll be posting some images from the National Fallen Firefighter's Memorial in Emmitsburg, MD. Myself and a few other recruits made the trip on Saturday. All I'll say right now is that it's a very moving memorial, and the grounds of the National Fire Academy are beautiful.
This week should definitely hold more excitement than the last; Forcible Entry and Ventilation practical instruction is on the schedule.
* It's a compliment, I promise you. Our recruit class recognizes that he has 30+ years on the job, with (I think) 27 of them on a ladder truck. If there's anything that looks more natural than him with a hook in his hand or an extension ladder on his shoulder, I don't know what it is. We're lucky as hell that someone with that much experience is here to impart his knowledge upon us.