By Diane Feldman
Divorce over food containers
There is a divorce phenomenon sweeping the fire service—caused by unreturned plastic leftover food containers! According to a friend and battalion chief in the Virginia Beach (VA) Fire Department, this is what happens: The spouse packs up leftovers from dinner for the firefighter to take to the station the next day. The firefighter forgets to bring the empty containers home.
“It is a matter of being disrespectful to the spouse,” explains the battalion chief. “Just open the kitchen cabinets in any fire station—you will see tons of mismatched plastic food containers.”
So then somebody at the plastic food container company—probably a person who has been divorced six or seven times—invented the throwaway plastic leftover food containers. Did that solve the problem? No. The spouse perceives that throwing them away is also disrespectful! More divorces!
Don’t touch that lever!
A volunteer department in northern New Jersey had yet another full department response for an activated alarm in a local hotel. This hotel had been the source of numerous false alarms in the past, so the chief thought he’d heard every excuse for the alarm activation—until now.
Personnel walked up to the 10th floor, where they were met by a foreign tourist near the elevator, who said in extremely broken English: “I’m sorry. I pulled down the alarm thinking it said, ‘Pull down for elevator.’ ”
Here’s an interesting ad from the November 1939 issue of Fire Engineering: “Now Is The time To Get … Mildew-, Rot-, Freeze-Proof Manhattan Radio-Active Treated Fire Hose”–manufactured solely by the Manhattan Rubber Mfg. Division of Raybestos-Manhattan, Inc. (surprisingly, they’re out of business today!).
The importance of size-up
From Mike Ciampo, lieutenant, FDNY: “Size-up is an important part of any fire or EMS call. Every now and then, though, it is easy to miss or overlook something because of the circumstances.
“A few years ago, I was in charge of patient care at a car accident with one person pinned behind the steering wheel. As I assessed the victim, who was conscious the whole time, I asked typical size-up questions and performed a physical assessment. The victim said twice that he had no feeling in his left leg, foot, or toes. As I palpated them, I ran through in my mind a list of possibilities of what could be wrong with him.
“My fellow firefighter used the hydraulic spreader/cutter to pry the car door off and expose the victim; however, we realized he was still pinned by the dashboard. So we continued to dismantle the car until the victim unstrapped his prosthetic left leg and assisted in his own removal. No wonder he didn’t have any feeling in his left leg, foot, or toes!”
Instructions for life
Thanks to John M. Buckman, chief, German Township (IN) Fire Department, and past president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, for these “Instructions for Life.” Use them at home and in the fire station:
1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three Rs–Respect for self; Respect for others, and Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.
Image found on Wikimedia Commons courtesy of Donmike10.
Diane Feldman, a 21-year veteran of PennWell Corp., is executive editor of Fire Engineering and conference director of FDIC. She has a B.A. in English communications. She has been a yenta (look it up) for most of her life. If you have a story for the Yenta, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.