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My first real-life fire

I have some big news! Monday, I responded and participated in my first-ever, real-life fire.

Responding to a call is always an adrenaline rush. I ran in, tossed my sandals off, borrowed a fellow firefighter’s extra pair of socks and jumped in my turnout gear, stuffing my dress down into the pants.

The page went out approximately 4:15 p.m. I took off and got to Creston Fire Department. In the middle of putting my gear on, another page went out for Creston firefighters to disregard the first page, but dispatch called the department to tell us to remain on standby.

We ended up going with the brush truck and Ranger.

The fire was just west of the Union County line into Adams County, so Creston went as mutual aid for Prescott Volunteer Fire Department. It was a grass fire, most likely started by sparks igniting dry grass.

After Jake Winkler, Jim Schaffer and I left with the Ranger in tow, I kept thinking about what I was going to do when we got on site. Having never put out a fire that wasn’t controlled, so many thoughts swirled through my head. Will I screw up? What will happen if I do? What if I make things worse?

However, when we got there it wasn’t as rushed as I originally thought it would be. I could still breathe. I had my gear on, was in the brush truck with Lee Freeman and we were on our way to keep the grass fire from spreading.

Lee put me on the nozzle, so I ran down and started spraying the grass along the edge of the blackened ground. Like I said, it wasn’t as stressful as I originally thought. I prevented the fire from spreading into the trees south of the burned land, and kept spraying water on the fresh grass.

Even though the land was burned, it was an awesome experience. I knew several people from other departments, such as Andrew Rhamy, Prescott volunteer firefighter, and Scott Russell, Corning volunteer firefighter and Adams County EMT, and knowing so many people made me feel more comfortable.

It also made me realize just how much I trust the people at Creston Fire Department, as well as other departments. Everyone has to have such a broad knowledge of fire behavior and equipment, and working around each department’s systems to cooperate takes effort. With all that experience in one place, I know everyone on site, civilians and firefighters alike, are in good hands.

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