By Jennifer Grigg
June 2, 2014, Port Severn, Ont. - I wouldn’t necessarily call myself superstitious, but I do think that there is an element of foreshadowing at play whenever anyone comments on how quiet things have been, which I know someone on my department said on Thursday. It may have even been me.
Friday morning we had a medical call that came in as a VSA (but fortunately wasn’t), followed by a car accident in the afternoon and a report of black smoke (which turned out to be a bon fire) that night.
Saturday morning, myself and a few fellow firefighters volunteered our time at a fundraising car wash for Tim Horton’s Camp Day. In two hours, we raised almost $400, and shared a whole lot of laughs and community spirit.
Saturday afternoon we were toned out to another medical call, but hubby and I were in the mall in Midland and didn’t even hear that call. (And just for the record, I was not dragging him to the mall so I could shop, we were buying a certain soon-to-be-13 year old her birthday present, which was a new bike).
However, it was my fault that we were in Wal-mart an hour later when the pager went off again, this time for a bush fire, on an island, which turned out to be a 30-40 minute boat ride from mainland).
Note – a fellow firefighter whose name I won’t mention (Shannon) had commented earlier in the day that she had been expecting a brush fire call. Can’t help but notice the incredible coincidence that was! Call it what you will…Superstitious? Foreshadowing? ESP? Or did she simply jinx us?
Needless to say, since the call came in just before 5:00 p.m. and it was on an island in the northern part of our response area, we got home around 11:00 p.m. We were fortunate that some of the guys washed most of the forestry hose on the scene so we only had a few lengths to wash when we finally got back to the hall.
And boy, were we hungry by the time we got home. Heck, on the boat ride back from the island, we could smell steak on a cottager’s barbecue and we groaned and joked about stopping in for dinner. Now I know how a dog feels when they are in a car and have their head hanging out the window and their nose up in the air. But we did enjoy a beautiful sunset on the ride home too.
We (meaning hubby and I) barbecued our own dinner (hamburgers) at 11:30 when we got home. He cooked while I had a shower. As someone who reacts effortlessly to poison oak, ivy and sumac, I always hop in the shower as soon as I can after a bush fire, no matter what time it is.
It’s not something you want to take chances with — if you’ve ever had a reaction to it, then you know exactly what I mean. And the fact that the oil (that’s on the leaves, which causes the reaction) can be carried in the smoke is an added threat. On a side note, Sunlight dish soap does wonders to prevent (or at least reduce the severity) of a reaction if you do come in contact with poison ivy, oak or sumac. It’s the same oil on all three so if you react to one, you’ll react to them all.
So after a shower and the best burger ever (you know how good food tastes after a long call), we finally got to bed around midnight. An hour later, a pager went off. I knew there was NO WAY I was getting up for the call because I was D-O-N-E. (I say “a” pager because hubby is on two departments.) Turned out to be hubby’s other department but apparently he was D-O-N-E too because he didn’t go.
3:00 a.m. blessed us with another set of tones for a ruptured fuel tank on a tractor trailer, compliments of direct contact with a guardrail.
Saturday night members of the GBFD enjoyed a sunset cruise on Georgian Bay and Sunday morning we watched the sunrise from Hwy 400 southbound at exit 162.
The weekend was filled with laughs, camaraderie, fundraising, firefighting, a power nap in the hammock Sunday afternoon and some beautiful views.
If that’s what saying the “Q” word means, bring it on! Just give me an extra day off to recover.
Jennifer Mabee-Grigg has been a volunteer with the Township of
Georgian Bay Fire Department in Ontario since 1997. E-mail her at
firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @jenmabee