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March 27, 2013, Waubaushene, Ont. – What makes a great day? Well, for the average volunteer firefighter, it’s any day that includes a fire call.

March 27, 2013, Waubaushene, Ont. – What makes a great day? Well, for the average volunteer firefighter, it’s any day that includes a fire call.

(Which, generally means that it’s not a great day for whomever we’re going to assist, but that’s totally beside the point. And, for the record, it’s not that we wish harm on anyone, it’s just that we get excited over . . . um . . . the opportunity to be of service, because that’s just how dedicated we are.)

Yesterday was one of those days, except it was even better: we had three calls.

Why so exciting? Well, the truth is that it’s been pretty quiet lately. We all know that means one of two things: either you’re about to get a hum-dinger of a call, like a big structure fire, or (and this is more likely) you’ll get 10 people showing up for a medical call. Funny things happen when you have a stretch with few or no calls – firefighters get antsy.


Yesterday’s adventure started off with a single vehicle rollover. As I’m running across the parking lot from the office to the fire hall in my take-teeny-steps-because-I’m-trying-to-run-in-heels-again shuffle, a fellow firefighter who happened to be in the office and was now heading to the fire hall with me, said, “How can you run in those heels?”

Not well, obviously. As I hit the grass my heels sunk in and I almost went you-know-what over teakettle.

On the way to the call, I found myself wondering what series of events had occurred that resulted in the vehicle rolling over, especially on a sunny day with clear roads. One never knows. Fortunately, both occupants were able to remove themselves from the vehicle and were OK, despite the wild ride.

While we were caring for the two patients, one fella commented how he recalled being aware that they were rolling and realizing that they were continuing to roll and he wondering if they were going to be crushed. Scary. I can’t imagine being in that situation and I hope I never find out what it’s like.

While on the scene of the MVC, we were paged out to a medical call at the gas station across from the fire hall. What are the odds that we get a call directly across the road from the hall – when we’re out on a call on the highway, which means that we’d have to go north to the next exit to turn around and head south. It would have been a great response time otherwise.

As we pulled back into the hall following the medical call, I joked with the other two firefighters in the truck and said, “OK, what’s No. 3 going to be? A structure fire? We’ve had the MVC and the medical.” I must admit, one of the other firefighters called it – he said fire alarm, but I was holding out for the structure fire.

I hurried back to work as soon as we returned to the hall. I got a (lovingly, I’m sure) BlackBerry Messenger message from my boss telling me that I’m fired. Once back at my desk, I realized that I’d left my pager in the hall, so I called the fire prevention officer’s extension and said, “I left my pager over there so when No. 3 comes in, give me a shout.” We both laughed and hung up.

Shortly after, she brought my pager over to me.

We were paged out to a fire alarm 20 minutes later. It wasn’t the structure fire I was hoping . . . er, I mean, predicting, but a third call nonetheless.

It turned out to be a false alarm, and by the time I returned to my desk, it was 4 p.m. and time to go home. Shortly after I left work, I got a message from my boss asking me if I still worked in the planning department . . .

As I pointed out to him, he should be proud to have an employee that’s so dedicated to the community.

I’ll leave his response up to your imagination . . .

The bottom line is that yesterday was a busy day. The first of many to come, I’d be willing to bet.

Welcome to spring!

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 and follow her on Twitter at @jenmabee.

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