Ever wondered what it's like to spend the day at the
firehouse? At the Spring Grove Fire Protection District, we have 3
shifts. Red, Gold and Black. The shifts are in continual
rotation with 24 hours on and 48 hours off for our 9 Regulars. Each 24
hour shift is additionally broken down into two 12 hours shifts that are
filled by our POP (paid-on-premise) members.
Firefighters are to report to the station by 6 am or
in some cases 6 pm for shift change. Being late to work is never
acceptable in the fire service because shift change hours are important.
Vital information is relayed between the two shifts that may involve
apparatus, personnel, training or community service.
Once a firefighter coming on duty is given their
apparatus assignment, they will then relieve the previous shift's
firefighter. Each firefighter is responsible for checking their own
gear each and every shift. If something is broken or needs to be
replaced, now is the time to report it and/or fix it. They will then
check out the equipment on the apparatus they are assigned to. On
every apparatus they have to check out the medical equipment, fire
equipment, etc as listed on our Daily Apparatus Check Sheet. Once this
task is done, firefighter's can relax and have breakfast before starting the
The day's assignments are given at the beginning of
each shift. The station may have a community service event to attend
or training. All personnel are required to go.
Housework is a daily morning event at the fire house. Each person is
given an assignment to clean a particular area based on the day of the week.
Bathrooms, bedrooms, laundry rooms, kitchen, office etc. Firefighters
take pride in their station and treat it as if it were there own home.
Spring cleaning happens every year and while not many look forward to that,
it keeps the firehouse in good condition. Area residents often stop by
At 9am on Monday's, Tuesday's, and Saturday's, the
officer in charge may inform the crew of their in-house fire and EMS
training for the day. In-house training is crucial for firehouses
because they need to operate as a team. The nature of the fire service
is that you never know when the tones go off, or what the emergency call
will be. Your team must be prepared for any situtation. In
addition to the daily trainings, every Wednesday, the Spring Grove Fire
Protection District hosts trainings for the whole department at 9am and 7pm.
The Wednesday trainings rotate each month through Leadership,
Department/Association Meetings, EMS training, Fire Training and SRT
Trainings on the months that have five Wednesdays.
Firefighter's are required to work out for a minimum
of 30 minutes every shift. Our station is fortunate enough to have
several key pieces of workout equipment including a treadmill, eliptical and
weight lifting equipment. Strength conditioning and cardiovascular
conditioning are equally important to firefighting. Firefighters on
the Spring Grove Fire Protection District are required to pass an annual
physical agility test every April in addition to an annual physical exam.
It is mandatory that they meet or exceed the standards set for them by the
So, shift change has happened, assignments given and
housework is done. Everyone who is working that day has gotten their
workout in or scheduled a time to do it in the afternoon... its is almost
time for lunch. After lunch, each firefighter has time to either
complete morning tasks that haven't been finished (possibly due to calls) or
works on Shift's assigned tasks. Red Shift maintains EMS records
including Quality Review of patient's care, preparing EMS trainings and
tracking continuing education hours. Gold shift maintains the yard and
building maintenance. And Black shift maintains equipment including
iventory of goods and maintenance and repairs.
Dinner time is always a relaxing time at the
firehouse. A good meal is a great way to head into the evening hours.
After the meal, everyone participates in doing the dishes, cleaning the
kitchen, bathrooms, taking out the garbage and mopping the floors. If
the apparatus are dirty, everyone heads out to the bay to clean them.
Men and women have seperate locker/bathrooms at the
firehouse. Sleeping quarters are similar to a coed dorm where each
twin bed is seperated by a partition of some type. Depending on the
shift, you may have 2-4 people sleeping in the same room. Unlike what
you may have seen in the movies or on TV, fire gear is not allowed in the
living areas of the fire station. Fire gear gets dirty depending on
the amount and type of runs you may incur during your shift. OSHA
standards prohibit the gear from entering the living areas.
Firefighters sleep in a t-shirt and shorts or sweats and put their gear on
when they get to their apparatus.
Sometime firefighters may not sleep through the
night without a run during their shift. In fact you may be so busy
during the day that none of the above mentionded duties actually get
completed! You just have to fit them in when you can. Shift
change for the next day always comes around at 6 am. Many firefighters
have full-time or part time jobs that they work on their days off.
Either way, the 48 hours off in between is time to recover until the next