Thursday, 10 November 2016

On-Call Fire Fighter Assessment Weekend (12th & 13th March 2016)

The dreaded assessment weekend!!
I drove to the Training Centre and we started the morning with the cakes I'd made for Max's birthday. I took a tray in to the Watches, which was well received, as they said I'd passed already because of them! Max asked if I'd make him a weekly order of cakes, and Sam said he wanted to marry someone like me.
I did two Breathing Apparatus wears first with Sam (me being the number 1, then him) and they weren't too disasterous. I was glad to have them out the way, as they were one of the things I was most worried about.
Then we did 9m and 13.5m ladder pitches. I went first in being assessed in the number 1 role for both (ie. the person who gives the commands throughout the pitch, and decides the height of the ladder etc.) and they both went great! I made a few mistakes in the other positions though.
Lastly for the day, we did knots, which I was confident on. We had to demonstrate quite a few different knots on different pieces of equipment (setting up the Light Portable Pump, hauling aloft equipment etc.) Mine went fine, though a couple of our squad didn't pass, but were allowed to do it again the next day.
We weren't given any feedback at all, but kind of got the feeling the instructors were pleased enough with us. I was really nervous throughout the day, and prayed a lot! I knew it wasn't anything I hadn't done before though, and just needed to slog through it.
That night I did a bit of study, but mainly just switched off.

The next morning we had a written exam, which had a load of stuff we'd only vaguely covered before - it was really hard! We basically all thought we had failed!! (Turns out everyone passed it and I got 85%!)
Then we did several fire ground drills, which was quite physically demanding. At one point I was exhausted - standing on the line after completing another drill. I prayed to be able to carry on, and at that point the Watch gave us a 5 minute break, which was totally what I needed! After that I went off separately to do my Light Portable Pump assessment next to the stream, then I went back to drills.
After drills, we were all standing lined up in the drill yard, and the 3 Watches kind of said 'see anything that worries you?' to each other, then just said we'd passed the assessment. We filed off into the break room, and I had to ask if they meant we'd passed the whole thing - we all had!!! And that was it!!
We then had to bring our cars onto the drill yard so we could load up our fire kit to take to our stations. It was SO NICE walking to the car park a little way away, and driving round the ring road and into the fire station, knowing I had done it.
Then we had a lunch hour from 1-2pm, and it was the nicest thing in the world to walk in our working rig (smart kit, which we had to keep covered up before), through town to Subway, chatting with Vicky and Jose. Half the others were in Subway too, and I felt so happy and proud of us all!
At 2pm we went in the conference room, with some of the instructors and the Group Chief. They said they'd been happy with what they's seen from us - good work and good attitude. We were presented with our certificates, warrant/i.d. cards, and key fobs for getting into fire stations, then we went outside and had a load of photos taken in front of a pump. It was sunny and lovely and just a very happy, relaxed time.
I texted Scott and Lucy to say I'd passed, and Lucy texted back to say that our church Ward had been spit today, and we were now in a new Ward, with Mick Waters as Bishop!

This photo was in a local online newspaper report.

My squad!! Matthew, Sam, Luke, Max, Adam, Vicky, me, Jose and Luke.

I then drove home with all my (very smoky smelling) kit! Just had time to get unloaded, before Trev arrived - Scott's brother, over from Estonia for a visit. I felt pretty wrecked, so had a bath and made myself presentable again.
We chatted for a bit, then I drove Lucy to Northampton for a YSA Broadcast. My back had started to hurt on the drive over, and I couldn't manage to sit for all the broadcast.
What a day!

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