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August 27, 2013
By Jennifer Grigg


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Aug. 27, 2013, Port Severn, Ont. - I was awoken yesterday morning by the familiar high-low tones followed by the series of beeps from my pager, brutally ripping through the silence and my deep and peaceful slumber (which was actually a good thing, because it was after 6 and we had both slept through our alarms.)

Aug. 27, 2013, Port Severn, Ont. – I was awoken yesterday morning by the
familiar high-low tones followed by the series of beeps from my pager,
brutally ripping through the silence and my deep and peaceful slumber
(which was actually a good thing, because it was after 6 and we had both
slept through our alarms.)

It was a medical call for a 19-year-old who had fallen off a balcony and onto the rock path below.

On the way to the hall, I gave my significant other the exact exit to take off the highway, the road to turn on and the next turn to get to where the call was. (I assumed he would be driving the rescue truck, apparently.) Since he’s relatively new to my department – and I mean that in the nicest way – and still trying to get the roads and cross streets down, this type of conversation typically happens on the way to the hall.

We pull up behind a black vehicle driving slowly, poking along as if it were Sunday, as a matter of fact. I commented that it looked like our district chief’s personal vehicle; partner says he doesn’t think so, and turns on the green light to let whoever it is know that we are trying to get to the fire hall.

No reaction from the vehicle in front of us initially, but then the driver seems to catch the flashing green reflecting in their rearview mirror and, instead of pulling over, the vehicle speeds up. It then turns where we need to turn, and then sure enough, it turns into the fire hall.

“Ha!” I exclaim, “I told you it was him.” (Gotta’ claim those small victories when we can!)

As we’re all running into the hall, the district chief told us that he didn’t have his pager with him and didn’t know there was a call until he caught the reflection of the green light in his mirror, which his wife had turned up the last time she’d driven the vehicle, so he didn’t see it initially.

We all grab our gear and a fourth firefighter joins us and off we go. The other firefighter and I were riding in the back of the rescue truck, partner and the district chief were in the front of the truck.

Once I buckled myself in and got my gloves on, I leaned forward to see where we were, and I realized we’re going in the wrong direction. I waste no time in saying (politely, of course) “Where are you going? The call is off of Nicholson’s Road, you missed the ramp to go north!” At the same time, thinking to myself, “We went over this on the way to the fire hall, what the heck was he thinking?”

Partner pulls over and the DC grabs the map book. After a quick consultation, it is agreed that we’re going the wrong way.

It’s not often that I am that sure of myself that I blurt out a . . . question to the people in the front of the truck, but for this location I was 100 per cent sure, because we had a firefighter whose family owned a cottage on the same road. So I knew I was right on this one.

Once we got going in the right direction (which really took no time at all), we arrived well before the ambulance and had the patient packaged and ready to go for the paramedics upon their arrival.

First chance I got, I said to my partner quietly, “What the heck? Why were you going the wrong way? We went over this on the way to the hall and I told you exactly where to go!?”

He just shrugged and said, “I was told to go right, so I did.”

Sigh . . . the trials and tribulations of being on a hall with your significant other.


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 and follow her on Twitter at @jenmabee.


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