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November 15, 2011
By Jennifer Grigg


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Nov. 16, 2011, Midland, Ont. – I pulled up beside the other vehicles at the hall, parked the Jeep and ran in to put my gear on, just in case. Then I hear over the radio in the hall, "Station 3, this is Pump 3, respond the rescue please." Right on!!!! That’s me because I’m the only one here!

Nov. 16, 2011, Midland, Ont. – I pulled up beside the other vehicles at the hall, parked the Jeep and ran in to put my gear on, just in case. Then I hear over the radio in the hall, "Station 3, this is Pump 3, respond the rescue please." Right on!!!! That’s me because I’m the only one here!

I try to steady my voice before I key the mike and respond, “Station 3 acknowledge”, hoping I didn’t sound too excited. I used my best “no prob, it’s cool” voice but after all, this is my first call since I’ve been back, and I’m about to respond with the rescue lights and sirens. Who wouldn’t be just a little excited over that? OK, so I’m a “rookie,” kinda, sorta, and I totally admit to being hugely excited to be driving the truck, heck, to just be making a call!

“Here we go,” I think to myself. “Stay calm and think about what you’re doing.”

I remembered to check all of the doors on the rescue before I left the hall (it goes without saying, but I sure didn’t want anything falling off the truck or doors flying open on my first run!), then I hopped in, started it, adjusted the seat, buckled up, turned on the emergency lights, found the siren switch and – thank goodness – thought about what I said before I keyed the mike to let dispatch know I was responding.

I didn’t want to have some Bruce Almighty type gibberish coming out of my mouth for everyone to hear, as excited as I was.

For those of you paying attention, you’ll notice that I neglected the “check the mirrors” portion of the circle check before I left the hall. I’ll be honest, I didn’t check them, and I’m probably the shortest person in the hall so I do admit to having to lean way back in my seat to see in the passenger side mirror, but I could see and did use them. For instance, I totally saw the Cadillac SUV that was coming up behind me in the slow lane, thinking to myself, ”You’re not really going to pass me, are you?” and then watched as it passed me!

And then, as it got just ahead of me, it slowed down abruptly when it saw the smoke floating across the highway and all of the other vehicles that had slowed down, although the call was on the other side. Needless to say, I ended up passing him, lights and sirens still on.

Because the call was southbound, most responding units had to turn around on an overpass and then continue south to the call. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived on scene, there was a large traffic backlog to negotiate. I’m talking, like Bruce Almighty and the parting of the soup. I’m not kidding. At the beginning of the backlog, there was still room for the cars to move when I approached them in the rescue, and it looked just like the other part in that movie where the cars all move out of the way for him when he’s caught in traffic.

Movie analogies aside, it got tighter as I got closer to the scene, and the same thing kept running through my mind: “Please don’t let me scratch this truck, or clip someone’s mirror. Oh my, this is close . . . so glad I’m in the rescue and not the pumper. Please don’t let me scratch this truck, or clip someone’s mirror. I’ll never hear the end of it. Where does this end?”

Needless to say, I made it to the call no problem, the firefighters did a great job putting out the vehicle fire and traffic was cleared shortly thereafter. I finally got that first call in and man, it was awesome!



Jennifer Mabee is a volunteer with the Township of Georgian Bay Fire
Department in Ontario. She began her fire fighting career with the
Township of Georgian Bay in 1997 and became the department’s fire
prevention officer in 2000 and a captain in 2003. She was a fire
inspector with the City of Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services
before taking time off to focus on family, and is excited to be back at
it. E-mail her at
jhook0312@yahoo.ca

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Read First Call, part 1, here
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