What’s Important to the Engine Guys?

By Diane Feldman

What is the most important piece of equipment on the engine company? Spare socks. “Especially for firefighters who served in Vietnam,” Peter Hodge from the New Jersey Bureau of Fire Safety explains, “dry socks are most important.”

Runaway truck

On Route 17 in Bergen County, New Jersey, a fire pumper pulled up on the shoulder to extinguish a working car fire. The pump operator positioned the apparatus. The firefighters pulled an attack line. The pump operator throttled up the pump. What happened? Water? No! The pumper proceeded down the highway without a driver. The fire truck wasn’t actually in pump—it was still in road mode–and brakes didn’t hold. The pump operator began sprinting down the road, chasing the truck. He stopped it before any damage was done. Personnel needed a second handline to cool down the chief in charge of the incident. 

A convertible—just what I always wanted!

A civilian in New York City found a real treasure this week (or so he thought)—a coveted parking space on the street in Manhattan. He thought nothing of parking his car behind his neighborhood fire station, figuring it would even be safer there since the station is staffed 24 hours a day. He saw two other cars there, a sure sign that the parking spot is OK. The next day, he returned to find the top of his car cut off. Apparently, the two other cars were parked there because the firefighters were about to drill with hydraulic cutters/spreaders. Personnel assumed the third car was for their cutting and drilling pleasure as well. Now the guy has a convertible!

Another convertible story

In reference to the above item, Ron Shaw from Extrication.com writes: “The exact same incident occurred in the Framingham (MA) Fire Department. I know it happens, and I have been at two vehicle-cutting drills where it did happen. The troops love new cars! The best way to avoid cutting up the wrong car by mistake is to have the prop vehicle provider spray-paint the windshield or body of the vehicle that is to be used for the drill.”

Be careful what you wish for

Seen at an extremely difficult vehicle extrication/victim entrapment in northern New Jersey: The car involved, which was upside down, had a vanity plate holder that said, “Hit me, I need the money.”

Photo found on Wikimedia Commons courtesy of Scott Bauer




The Yenta
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 dianef@pennwell.com.

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