Monday, June 13, 2011

Sleep Working

 The high pitched internal "beep" on his pager, which indicates the proper pair of coded tones have activated it, goes off. Not that he needed another piercing loud noise, because the rest of the tones and the distinctive 'warble' are now coming through the speaker, as if to wake him completely. Before the tones start, his legs are swung out of the bed and he reaches, in the total dark for his socks and pulls them on. With his right hand he reaches for a small battery powered fluorescent light and turns it on while at the same time his left hand finds the belted section of his pants and flips them open so he can pull them on. Before he stands to pull his pants up, he pulls his boots on but does not waste time with the zippers, he can do those while he is driving. He stands, pulls up, and fastens his pants and belt. His right hand grabs the pager out of it's charger while the left hand grabs the cell phone, both hands working independently and in unison, he slips them both on his belt.
 He grabs the little light and carries it with him so that he has no need to turn on other lights to find his way down the stairs. His wife and dog, lay undisturbed and he likes it that way. Down the stairs and through the den to the side door, he slips on a coat, flips a hat on his head and is out the door. Five steps to the truck and he slides in, shuts off the light and flips it into the back seat. As his hand comes back around, it hesitates long enough to turn on the fire radio, the police scanner is already on and he listens for the first arriving Officers to give their report to dispatch. He grabs the wheel with his now free right hand and turns on the EMS radio with his left. He wants to know, as soon as possible that they have an ALS rig on the road in case it's needed. He has no idea what time it is, and he doesn't really care. It doesn't really matter. He's rolling to yet another job.
 At this point he finally begins to awaken some with the effort of thought and decision making: which piece of apparatus to get, what tools might be needed, who is in town and also responding, which gear bag should he grab when he jumps out of this truck and into the rig, and what the hell time is it anyway?
 He flips on his blue light as he rolls down the driveway, hoping his neighbor down the road will see it and not waste time starting his own truck, he slows at the neighbors house and the Captain jumps into the passenger seat. They confirm the details of the dispatch information with each other, but don't talk much otherwise during the 2 minute ride to the station. They listen to the various radios for further information.
 When they arrive at the station, there is no conversation about tasks or who will do what, it is all automatic and each performs his pre-programmed motions learned through countless repetitions over the years, and each knows what the other has already done, and what will be done next. Disconnecting umbilicals, opening doors, calling in to Dispatch, all done without a single word of coordination. Within another minute, they have made the transition to the Engine and the Captain drives while he gets his gear on and operates the radio.
 They are about a mile out from the station, with another two miles to get to the job when they get the call on the radio that they have been canceled and put back in service.
He looks at the clock,  which reads '2:58AM'. He looks out the windshield as the Captain swings the truck around and says "Well, I guess we could call that another practice run". The Captain, looking over his shoulder for traffic before he pulls back on the road just replies "Yes, that's probably a good way to look at it, we could use the practice". "Yup", he replies in a dead pan manner, "You can never get enough practice". They look at each other and smile and don't say another word until they get back to the station.

Be Safe, Be Sharp, Be Good,

No comments:

Post a Comment