Bailey B.

January 6th – January 27th (10.33 hours) – One meaningful experience I had at my internship was being able to do the do the course of the PAT and then going into the bays and learning how to call a mayday. I got to do the course in turn outs and with an air pack on, but I wasn’t on air because I don’t know how to breath on air. I’ll learn how to breath on air when I go through the fire academy in college. Once I was done with it, I found out that the PAT course that I went through is the course you go through to get hired on to the department. I feel that the course was a lot easier for me than I expected it to be, and that if I stay in good shape I’ll be fine passing the physical tests in the academy. I feel that this was an extremely good experience to have before I go into the academy and before I start applying to departments.

One technical skill I have learned is how to check an air pack. This skill is important, because your air pack is everything in a fire. This skill was hard for me when I first started interning because there are so many parts that you have to check on the air pack. When I was first learning this skill my mentor walked me through checking an air pack and I watched him do it. Then the next time I had one of the other firefighters I work with go through it with me so we both had a pack and I watched then did what they were doing on my pack. After doing that a couple times I was able to check the pack on my own while someone watched me check. Now I am able to check my own pack without help or anyone watching me to make sure I’m doing it right.

This skill will help me both in college and when I start my career as a firefighter. Having this skill means I don’t have to learn it when I go through the academy in college, which means I can focus on the other skill we need to learn. Having this skill down and being able to practice it now will help me when I’m a firefighter because at the beginning of every shift you have to check you air pack. This will help me do a faster and more effective truck check when I am working as a firefighter. It also helps me now because I can help with the truck check every morning while someone else is checking the other things on the truck I can check airpacks. This is an essential skill for all firefighters because it can be life or death when a firefighter has to go on air.

I learned what the PAT test is for firefighters. The PAT test is the test that firefighters and new recruits are put through, to test their physical ability. I learned this when the firefighters had to go through it as a training activity last time I was at my site. 

November 12th – January 5th (34.78 hours) -One meaningful experience I’ve had was, switching to station 2. At the beginning of the program my captain decided it would be best if part way through my internship I go to the other station a few times so I can get a feel for both stations. I feel that the switch was beneficial because during a firefighters probation year they spend a little bit of time at a station that is not the one they are assigned to. I had to quickly learn how to work with different people in a place I had never been before, while applying what I have learned at my station. I took away from my day at the other station that I prefer the routine and the atmosphere at my station. As a firefighter I would try to create more of the bonded and open feeling that is at my station.

At my internship site almost everything we do is in the moment, so when I need additional resources I have to find it quickly. For the additional help sometimes I can pull out a book or manual on it or I have to ask for help. One time I was helping with the chainsaw because it wasn’t working correctly. First Lauren and I pulled out the manual on the chainsaw to see if that would help us. Once we had read through the manual and realized it didn’t have the information needed, I had to pull out my phone and use google. We spent a bit of time look on google and trying to find the answer but Lauren and I still couldn’t find it.

To finally solve the problem with the chainsaw we had to ask Scott for help. Scott wasn’t exactly sure but we tried what he thought was the way to fix the problem. After we had done what Scott suggested we were testing to see if it works, the chainsaw worked properly for a little bit but then the problem started to happen again. So we talked to Captain Haller to see if he had any other solutions for the problem. We ended up having to take the chainsaw out of service. Since we had to take the chainsaw out of service I was able to learn how to take a piece of equipment out of service.

The pack test is a physical test that firefighters have to do as part of their wildland certification. Lauren, our probationary firefighter, is still working on some of her certifications and is training for the pack test and I got to do it with her on the Ciengea tract. The test requires a firefighter to carry a 45 pound pack three and a quarter miles in under 45 minutes. 

 

October 29th – November 11th (12 hours) – One meaningful experience I had at my site was I got to participate in a driving course. I got to watch some of the guys go through the course in the bigger fire trucks and then I got to go through the course in the ambulance. At first I was nervous to do the course and drive the ambulance, but after I started I realized it wasn’t that bad. I learned how to parallel park because that was part of the driving course. Overall from the experience I took away that driving the ambulance isn’t that hard but I don’t think I was to become an engineer and drive the bigger trucks. I have a lot of respect for the guys that drive the bigger trucks though that course without hitting the cone.

From my mentors perspective I would say my attendance and punctuality was really good. I never missed or had to reschedule a day, and I was always a little early every day I interned. I also think my mentor would say I did a good job establishing a schedule. I was able to create a schedule based on whatever days my shift worked I could come in, so I went through my calendar and picked days I knew I didn’t have anything. I also set these days early so I knew not to make plans for these days. My schedule was a little different than most because I didn’t necessarily go in every week but I did longer 12 hour shifts which really helped me.

I feel that my time management skills are extremely good. I was able to balance my internship, school and volleyball. I don’t think any of them suffered at all this semester. I was able to get all my school work done, I kept up on all my stuff for this program, I never missed a day at my site and I still managed volleyball. What helped was planned everything out as far in advance as possible, I had my calendar and I was always adding things to it as soon as something came up. For next semester, I am planning to do the same thing. I am already setting up my calendar and adding things as I find out with them.

One phrase I learned last time I was at my site was what it means to be a career firefighter. A career firefighter is some who is a paid firefighter and that is their job. This came up while talking about how some volunteer fire departments are shady and not real.

October 15th – October 28th (12.33 hours) – One meaningful experience I had was the last time I went in I got to go on my first chest pain call. I got to be there while our paramedic assessed her and decided it was best to take her to the hospital. I got to go along on the transport and sit in the back. On the way Mike decided to start an IV and I got to watch that. I felt that I learned a lot from this call, because I got to watch how everyone treated the woman when we first got to her and how they treated and talked to her husband. I also had never been on a transport to TMC before so I got to experience that.

One time I interacted with Scott, a firefighter on my shift about Mike the paramedic on my shift. Scott initiated the conversation, he wanted to tell me that if Mike was ever talking or my head or I didn’t understand something I could talk to him. We had this conversation face to face and it made me feel that they really want me to succeed. I think is also shows that everyone knows each others weaknesses. I also had a similar situation that happened with Robert. Since Scott and Robert are both firefighters and are newer to this they understand more of what it is like.

I interact with most of my coworkers for social reasons a lot, working together so often and for such a long time leads to getting to know each other on a personal level. One time I was talking to Andy an engineer from another shift that I have worked with a few times and we were talking about this show we started watching together the first day I interned. I also talk to Robert a lot and I ask how his kids are and that kind of thing. I am comfortable with talking to everyone I work with. I talk to Robert and Scott the most out of everyone on my shift. I enjoy talking to Scott he usually has fun stories or stories from his girlfriend who is an ER nurse at TMC.

One thing I learned about last time I was at my site was the AutoPulse. The AutoPulse is a machine that is strapped onto a patient and it performs CPR instead of a person doing it. I learned about this during our morning accoments because we try to watch a training video every morning before we start. The AutoPulse helps free hands and give more space when running a code while also not tiring people out by doing CPR.

October 1st – October 14th (12 hours) – One meaningful experience that I had last time I went into internship site was that I got to learn how to intubate a person. I was really excited to learn how to do this skill when Captain Haller said that was the training we were doing for the day, because intubation is only done by doctors and medics. I got to practice intubating on both a baby and an adult dummy, I learned how to pick the appropriate size tools I would need based on the size of a person. This was the first medic training activity I got to do while at my internship and I really enjoyed it. I feel that the training showed me that I do really like emergency medicine, Captain Haller even timed me to make time because medics have to be able to do this skill in under 30 seconds. After the training I really believe that the best job for me would be a medic at a fire department because I can still do medical stuff with the fire side too.

One term I learned last time I went to my internship was IO. An IO is an intraosseous infusion, which is an IV which goes into the bone when an IV can not be started in a vein. This came up when we were doing a medic training activity, where I got to drill into a fake bone and place an IO.

September 17th – September 30th (12 hours) – One meaningful experience I had at my internship was driving the fire truck in the Cienega parking lot. When Captain Haller told me that our training activity for the day would be driving the truck I was a little nervous, but we were supposed to have a driving course set up and I would take the truck through that. The driving course ended up not being set up so my Captain decided to just take the truck to Cienega parking lot. Usually when you become a firefighter you have to take a class before you can drive the fire truck and you would normally start with the ambulance first. I learned the driving techniques that firefighters have to learn to drive the truck and I learned how to back the truck in to spots. I feel that this will give an advantage when I start at a fire station and have to learn how to drive the truck.

At my internship site almost all the communication is in-person conversation. Since it is a fire station everyone that I need to communicate about what I need to do is always there with me. This is appropriate because as a firefighter you can’t really take work home or work from home. Even when someone needs to talk to someone from the other station we will al get in the truck and go over there. I feel that all the face to face conversation that happens helps build the bond of everyone that works since you have to have each others backs in this job. I think that to have the fire station run how it is supposed to, face-to-face communication is the only way that it is possible.

At my site I am pretty comfortable with communicating with everyone. Almost all my communication I use is in-person conversation, so like if we are doing something I’ll ask questions as I have them. The only time I use email is to schedule days to come in and earn hours, and those are short and to the point emails. When I have things I need for the internship program I just ask my mentor in person when we have some down time. I have used over the phone communication a few times with my mentor but that was just for little things like the door was still locked when I got to my site. I enjoy that for the most part the communication at my site is in-person, I feel that it is the most effective way.

I learned what Plug N ‘Dike is while we were checking everything on the rescue truck. Plug N’ Dike is a power that is mixed with liquid that creates a putty. The putty can then be used to plug holes. Firefighter usually use this most on little hold for a short term fix.

September 3rd – September 16th (12.65 hours) – One meaningful experience I recently had while interning was I went to my first car accident. This was my first time going on a call where someone was injured and needed to be transported. I felt that I learned a lot from this because I got to be on sense and watch everyone work together. While we were transporting the patient I got to sit in the back of the ambulance and observe Mike do his job as a paramedic. I also got to see the relationship that the nurses and doctors have with the paramedics and firefighters that bring patients in. Once we were heading back to the station I was talking to Mike and Scott and they were telling me that I handled myself very well and they think this would be a good job for me. They told me that most people find the can’t do this job when they have their first car accident.

I was coming back from a training activity when we got a call for an MVA and to respond code 3. Code 3 means to respond with lights and siren. This makes it so cars will pull over and let you by to get to the scene as fast as you can.

August 20th – September 2nd (0 hours) – One meaningful experience I had was the last time I went into my site, I got to use the jaws of life and open up a car door. I had to do this by myself using the tools and very little direction. It took me a while but I finally was able to get the door open, I learned how to use the jaws of life and that they also have a cutting function so you can cut through metal. Once the door was open Captain had me pop all the tires which is what they would do to many sure the car was balanced before they would move any patients from the car. After the car was set up to get any patients out they had me break in the back window just for fun. I felt this helped me grow because they had me make my own decisions and they trusted that I was able to do it on my own.

My internship location is a little different from most because it is at a fire station and the crew works 24 hour shifts. They get their job done but they also have more freedom than in a different job, they can stop and get food whenever they want, they can be on their phones, they can just sit and watch TV. Clearly this isn’t the case when there is a call on a call everyone is very professional and does what needs to be done. Once all the work is done for the day they’ll work out, they’ll nap and just be ready for a call. Lunch is also different because they’ll take a 3 hour lunch break and can do whatever they want. The big thing is to be able to drop what you’re doing and get out of the station in under a minute if there is a call.

I feel that this is a natural fit for me, but I do have trouble with just sitting around sometimes. I make sure I bring something to work on when we have down time, I find it weird to just sit and watch TV while at work. I also have a hard time will all the freedom that is there, like I can just take a nap if I want, I can stop and get food if I want. I have gotten more used to it as I have been going into my site more. It just feels weird going from school telling you no phone, you can’t nap, you need to be doing something but as I get used to it, I find that I like it. Looking at the big picture and what the job entails its a perfect fit for me.

During one of my truck check day we had to check the brush fire truck, one of the items we had to check was fire shelters. Fire shelters are a last resort used in wildfires when firefighters get trapped by the fire. The fire shelter can not protect a firefighter when there is sustained contact with flames but it can protect them in a short grass fire. 

August 6th – August 19th (8 hours) – I have not gone into my internship sight this log, but I did meet with Michelle a female firefighter at Rincon Valley. She told me about her experience and gave me advice for working in a male dominated profession. She told me how the wives will be intimidated by me and at first a lot of the wives will hate me and I’ll know that. For advice she told me if there are work events I should hang out and talk to the wives, I should go do things with the wives even if shopping and nail appointments aren’t my thing I should build relationships with them to make my life easier. She also told me to let the guys still be guys at work, except their help if I need it because they are taller and have different strengths than me. Also let them open a door for me and little things like that because they are guys and that’s what they are taught its not them trying to look down on me or belittle me because I am a female and they are just helping. I feel that I took a lot away from the meeting especially this because I knew that it’s not an easy job for a female. I really enjoyed talking to Michelle and how helpful she was. She was also extremely supportive and offered to meet with me again anytime even after I graduated and I started applying to stations.

July 18th – August 5th (20.62 hours) – One meaningful experience I’ve had was when I was helping captain Haller check the drug bag on the fire truck. In the drug bag they keep blood sugar tests and Captain Haller asked if I had ever done a blood sugar test. I had never done a blood sugar test so he explained to me what I needed to do and then he had me perform one on him. From this I learned how to set up for the test, how to do the test and how to clean up after the test. I felt that this showed Captain Haller trusted me enough to show me and let me attempt this even when I had never done it and it involved blood. This experience helped me be more confident and feel more comfortable at the station. It also helped me gain an advantage in my medical assisting class because this is a skill that we haven’t learned yet.

I am hoping to learn a lot in the internship program this year. One thing I really hope I can learn from Mrs. Wahl is to be confident in my skills and experience when it comes to getting a job once I am done with school. I feel that even within the short time I have been in the internship program I have learned a lot on how to be professional and I hope to keep growing as a professional. One thing I hope to learn from my mentor this year is the best path for me to get to where I want to be when I pursue a career as a firefighter. My mentor has started to connect me with other females to talk to and have them tell how they got to where they are. These things I want to be able to take away from the internship program will be more of a process than something that happens over night.

Applying and being accepted into the internship program I have learned a lot about myself. One thing I’ve learned about myself as a student is that I am highly motivated when I can see the benefits and I am interested in what I am doing. If I can’t see the direct benefit of what I am doing, I have a hard time staying focused and giving it my all. As a professional I have learned I need to ask questions when I have them so I can maximize my learning. I can’t just sit there and be like okay I understand something but I wonder if there is more, or I won’t learn as much as I can and I don’t seem as interested. I hope as more time goes by in the internship program I learn more about myself so I can have a good understanding of what I need to do to pursue becoming a firefighter.