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You know you're an Alaskan Firefighter...

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  • You know you're an Alaskan Firefighter...

    - During driver-training you are told to watch out for frost heaves, ice patches, and moose!
    - You freeze to the ladder and your officer has to climb up and pry you loose.
    - You leave a hockey rink in the fire victim's front yard after you put out the blaze.
    - Your fellow firefighters have to chip you from the ice after you sit on the ground and man the moniter.
    - The Probie has to crawl under the Port-A-Tank when it's being emptied.
    - You can't slip off the engine because you are frozen to it!
    - You slip on ice inside a training burn. (!)
    - You have about 8 icicles dangling from your fire helmet.
    - You try to crawl into the building and your bunker pants freeze to the ground.
    - You are too slow when it comes to draining the hose and someone has to carry 100 feet of frozen-solid hose back to the station in their pickup truck.
    - You respond to a winter MVA going a whopping 15mph.
    - You acctually know how to drive the engine in ice fog!
    - You have to wear chains on your fire boots.
    - You take a corner going 4mph and the ambulance STILL slides sideways.
    - 95% of the homes you respond to have at least two huskies waiting at the front door.
    - You have at least one dog-musher on your department.
    - You don't bat an eye when it takes 45 minutes to drive to a call.
    - You carry a parachute and a heater in the brush rig during the winter (so you can make a tent out of the parachute and put it over a wrecked car in order to keep the vitctim warm)
    - It's perfectly normal to respond when it's fifty below zero outside.
    - You prop the bunkroom window open when it's thirty five below because "It's stuffy in here."
    - You have a pair of rescue snowmachines.
    - You pile about 4 heated blankets on your patient in-between their front door and the ambulance that is parked ten feet away.
    - The first thing you grab as you dive out of the ambulance is those 4 blankets.
    - You can scale an icy ladder like a mountain goat.
    - You have to bring a shovel up with you when you want to ventilate through the roof.
    - You jump out of the Engine, slip on your butt, and slide under the tanker.
    - You respond to a wildland fire and have to wade through thigh-deep snow.
    - You put the wildland fire out with shovels and snow.
    - During the winter your fire boots are 2 sizes too big so you can wear double layers of wool socks.
    - You acctually use fire mittens.
    - You spray the hose at someone and all they hear is **Tink Tink Tink** as frozen beads of ice fall on their helmet.
    - Your fire hose freezes to the ground, the couplings freeze shut, and the spanner wrenches freeze to your gloves.
    - You never use a flashlight in the summer because it's light out 24 hours a day.
    - Half of your MVA's involve Car vs. Moose
    - You respond in areas where they don't have a police force and the State Troopers have to be called.
    - You are still responding to snow-related MVA's in the middle of May.
    - Your fire helmet is coated in 2 inches of ice.
    - You have to hang your bunker gear up so it thaws out.
    - MVA's involve Caribou vs. Car
    - People outside of Alaska acctually say, "You have FIRES up there?? Isn't it too cold for anything to burn???"
    - People outside of Alaska ask wildland firefighters, "How can you have forest fires? There aren't any trees in Alaska!"
    - You tell these same people that it's the furniture inside igloos that catches on fire and they believe you!
    - Part of your job involves saving huskies.
    - You can't change the SCBA bottle because it's frozen to the harness.
    - You don't walk around the scene - you skate along in your fire boots.
    - You've gone "surfing" down a driveway on your fire boots.
    - You've surfed down a driveway in the ambulance.
    - You lean over your patient and a pile of snow falls off your helmet.
    - A break during a springtime EMT class involves building a snowman and having a wild snowball fight.
    - When you park the Engine outside you have to leave it running or else it will freeze solid.
    - You can't turn the nozzle off because the hose will freeze solid.
    - You acctually wear three layers of clothes under your bunker gear.
    - Your Deputy Chief flops onto his back and makes snow angels at the end of training.
    - You know what an oosik is.

    [This message has been edited by Michelle Latham (edited 05-15-2001).]

  • #2
    HA HA HA, Michelle, those are too funny. I can relate with, well, a couple of them anyway. Great job.


    • #3
      Talk about memories! Here's a few you forgot to mention:

      Standing in the smoke to keep the mosquitos away?
      When you were a probie, they took your uniform, stuffed it in a coffee can filled with water and set it outside during the winter.
      You've responded to tundra fires that have been burning for 20 years.
      You've been bitten by the snow snake.
      You've attended a pipeline party.

      By the way, is the Evergreen Inn still standing?


      • #4
        You respond to an MVA in blinding snow one night, feel a thump, but driver nor officer see anything. Get to scene, bail out, and there's a whitetail deer on the front bumper, wedged between the LDH feed and the bumper itself. So you just leave it there until you get back to the station, then hang it up in the bay to dress it out....
        (VERY rural station in PA)

        We gotta be nuts...we're running in when the rats & roaches are running out!
        These are my opinions, and only mine, and do not reflect the views of my department.
        Let No Victim's Ghost Say That We Didn't Try


        • #5
          Very good Michelle!

          Here are some more....

          You know you're and Alaskan firefighter when:

          Your department has 2 snowmachines, a med sled, a 4 wheeler and an air boat!

          You have gone on popsicle patrol.

          You've been frozen to a hose.

          You have fought a fire at 60 below, and the whole neighborhood is there with hot coffee and cocoa.

          You have actually warmed a patient with your own body heat.

          You have an all female department during moose hunting season.

          You know how to negotiate a patient on a spine board in a 6 foot snow bank.

          Structure fires in the winter always happen at at least -30.

          You've been driven nearly insane by mosquitos at an accident scene.

          Mandatory jump kit item includes: "OFF Insect Repellant"

          You have seen a bear steal MRE's on a wildland fire.

          You have dealt with an angry momma moose, after her was calf hit on the highway.

          You have gone on 911 calls that are for hurt sled dogs.

          You have transported a hurt sled dog on your ambulance.

          You have a huge box of dry gloves on your rescue truck to trade out for wet frozen ones.

          You have treated a firefighter for frostbite on a fire scene.

          Excellent topic Michelle, my only hope is that the people outside will understand our humour. Have a safe summer. ~Karen, Capt. Anderson VFD & EMS.


          • #6
            dtj - Is the Evergreen Inn in Delta Junction? If so, I think it burned to the ground a few years back.

            Skaran - we have the same thing! (Rescue snomachines, med sled, 4-wheeler, and 2 air boats PLUS we put wheels on our sled during the summer!)

            You rural PA folks would fit in up here!



            • #7
              Also, you're an Alaskan firefighter if:
              --You can't see because your breath froze to your face shield.
              --Your mask froze.
              --When you park a truck, you have to put it in pump and pull the tank fill and tank to pump valves to keep the water from freezing.
              --You have a plow on your truck to get to a scene.
              --You carry an ice auger for water supply.


              • #8

                Are you saying you put wheels on your medsled! Too Cool! I gotta see how you do this, maybe next time I go fishing at Quartz Lake I will stop by the station, it would be nice to use that sled for SAR's and Wilderness rescue.

                THis topic has been so much fun, I have told alot of the FF/EMT's that I work with to get online today and comment on this post. Love it!!


                • #9
                  SKaren - I'm a member of two fire departments. Delta Junction VFD (In Delta Junction no less!) and Chena-Goldstreams Fire and Rescue in Fairbanks. (That's an Alaskan tradition too - belonging to a bunch of fire/rescue departments hahaha!) We have the rescue sled here in Fairbanks. If you want I'll get a picture of it for you and mail it to you. Just pop me an email at [email protected] and give me your dept address :-) The rescue sled looks so hip with big fatty tires on it!

                  Sponge - It's all so true!!! Everything freezes solid up here in about 30 seconds. It's insane! And it's so crazy that we have to bore a hole through three feet of ice in order to draft.

                  [This message has been edited by Michelle Latham (edited 05-15-2001).]


                  • #10
                    LETS HEAR IT FOR US ALASKANS!!! My first structure fire was in Galena, Alaska - 67 below!!!

                    You know you are an Alaskan firefighter when:
                    - the only hydrant you've seen is in the IFSTA manual.
                    - when you place a DOA cat on the tailboard and it freezes to the tailboard (true story - Eielson AFB FD).
                    - when no two members of your department have the same bunkers.
                    - you have ten trucks on scene and only ten firefighters(the drivers that drove them there).
                    - the first question the occupant of the house that is on fire is "Did the fire get to the gun cabinet" (Another true story).
                    - the only paved road in your town is the airport - that is if the runway is paved.

                    Keep up the posts Michelle.

                    North Star VFD
                    North Pole, Alaska

                    [This message has been edited by nsfirechap (edited 05-16-2001).]


                    • #11
                      Michelle, this has become a very popular post. I've got a few from the "Great White North" that seem to fit in, eh:

                      - The road is one big sheet of ice and you have to start stopping 5 blocks from the scene.
                      - Your going 100 km/h down a back-country road, in the dark, when it is snowing, and your not scared.

                      Lets keep them coming


                      • #12
                        I thought of some more!

                        You might be an Alaskan Firefighter in
                        Small town Alaska:

                        911 rings into your house and your radio, you still dispatch your own calls.

                        911 calls go something like this " there is a fire at that place where Joe Blow used to live." and we all know where to go.

                        Everyone in the department has at least three jobs.

                        The Mayor is a volly EMT.

                        The Fire Chief is also the Dog Catcher.

                        You know at least one FF who has ruined an engine in their own vehicle starting it at 50 below to go on a run.

                        Karen~Anderson VFD/EMS


                        • #13
                          How about this one:
                          As a probie driver, you park your pumper and run inside the station for a minute to p(well, do something you don't dare try outside), return only to find all 4 brakes frozen.
                          Rick Woolson
                          Minot and Shemya veteran
                          (guess this belongs in the probie section)

                          [This message has been edited by xchief9b (edited 05-16-2001).]


                          • #14
                            Very funny topic Michelle. Kepp them coming

                            Sean Corrigan
                            Seward Fire Dept
                            Seward, AK


                            • #15
                              You know you're an Alaskan Firefighter when you are excited about doing a Dive with the Dive Team and the Sea Water is 31 degrees.

                              You know you are an Alaskan Firefighter when it is so cold outside that you practically have to fight to make entry to keep warm.

                              You know when you are an Alaskan Firefighter when a probie closes the bail on the line and you have to saw the hose off the truck.

                              Stay safe

                              Sean Corrigan
                              Seward Fire Department


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