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June 20, 2012
By Jennifer Grigg


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June 20, 2012, Midland, Ont. – I have to admit, I was put to shame on the weekend. I’ve been known to poke fun at my significant other’s call volume on more than one occasion. I may have even gone so far as to joke about letting him drive me to my hall when we’ve been out together and my pager has gone off, just so he remembers what it’s like to respond to a call . . . in my blog nonetheless!

June 20, 2012, Midland, Ont. – I have to admit, I was put to shame on the weekend. I’ve been known to poke fun at my significant other’s call volume on more than one occasion. I may have even gone so far as to joke about letting him drive me to my hall when we’ve been out together and my pager has gone off, just so he remembers what it’s like to respond to a call . . . in my blog nonetheless!

Over the course of the weekend, his hall was paged out to three calls, two of which he made. My hall was paged out to two calls, neither of which I made. (We were with the kids at Chuck E Cheese’s in Vaughan on Saturday so I had a good excuse that day. I wouldn’t have even known about the call if it hadn’t been for my fellow by-law officer kindly texting me to let me know that I was missing an MVC.) In hindsight, it was probably a calmer scene that the one I was in the middle of at the time.

We were at the dog park Saturday morning with our two labs when his pager went off for a CO call. I had to laugh as I watched him half skip, half walk, half run back to our truck, dogs in tow.

“I take it we’re going?” I asked him. (Meaning, he’s going, I’m sitting in the truck with the dogs and behaving myself.) “Yep!” he replied as we all hurried down the trail.

Of course, we turned out to be the first ones at the scene. Or rather, he did. After all, I’m just a bystander in this township, not a firefighter. I watched the scene unfold from the comfort of the truck, while listening to his radio transmissions on his pager. I actually found it fascinating to be an eager observer at another department’s call. And no, in case you’re wondering, I wasn’t playing armchair firefighter and critiquing the call. Well, not really . . . OK, maybe I was just a little. He may think twice about taking me along next time . . . kidding, I wasn’t that bad. He’d have done the same if the situation were reversed I bet!

Armchair firefighter aside, I’d gone to the back of the truck to give the dogs some water while we waited. I was standing at the back of the truck with the cap open and the tailgate closed, so that the dogs could get some air, and watching the guys do their thing at the call. It was then that I heard a PASS alarm go off (because a firefighter had been standing still for too long, at no point was anyone in danger.)

As soon as I heard it, I found myself moving as an involuntary reaction to the sound.

I laughed at myself when I did it. For any moms out there, only you will understand this next statement. It reminded me of how when you have a baby (and you’re still in the nursing stage) and you’re out in public and hear another baby (any baby) cry and, well . . . you know what happens. It’s an automatic reaction that occurs without you even having to see the baby. You need only to hear one cry, and things just happen. It was the same thing when I heard the PASS alarm. (NO, I’m not talking about milk here, I’m talking about the automatic reaction analogy.)

Anyway, I found it quite funny. I also found it profound because it just goes to prove that some things are so ingrained in us that they cause us to react instantly, without actually thinking about it. This, I suppose, could be argued as good and bad, depending on the situation. However, in my thinking, it’s these ingrained lessons that keep us safe.

Regardless of which fire department you’re on . . .

Jennifer Mabee is a volunteer with the Township of Georgian Bay Fire Department in Ontario. She began her fire 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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