Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: That Pole? You Slide Down It

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,030

    That Pole? You Slide Down It

    That Pole? You Slide Down It

    By MICHELLE O'DONNELL


    Late one night recently at the East Harlem firehouse of Engine Company 53 and Ladder Company 43, a veteran firefighter stumbled upon two confused probationary firefighters surrounded by a pile of rope. The younger men, known as probies, were practicing tying rescue ropes for lowering themselves from upper floors of burning buildings, and they were struggling to master the technique of doubling the line, which they had been taught in the academy.

    "Here, let me show you something," the veteran firefighter, George Hear, said, taking the rope. He showed them a different way to tie the rope, without losing any length. In certain circumstances, he said, a chief might order the ropes tied that way.

    Long before the probies joined the department, when they were boys in fact, Ladder 43 regularly lowered men on ropes off six-story tenements to pluck people from fiery apartments. Twice, doubled-up ropes, tied according to department guidelines, had left a rescuer and victim dangling dangerously short of the ground. It was clear, without anyone having to say it, that Firefighter Hear's impromptu lesson might save the probies' lives one night.

    At Engine 53 and Ladder 43 and firehouses across the city, the gulf between the experienced firefighters and the rookies is magnified now more than ever before. The East Harlem firehouse, like others in the city, has received a flood of new firefighters to replace veterans who have retired or been promoted out of the firehouse in the scramble to fill posts after the devastating losses of Sept. 11.

    The firehouse is grappling with training and assimilating recruits. The inexperience of the probies is revealed in sometimes fleeting, sometimes pronounced moments of uncertainty. One recent afternoon, for example, with alarm bells ringing, a probie announced that he really did not like sliding down the firehouse pole; he was more a stairs man. (The other men groaned.)

    There are also the drills for fires and terrorist attacks that leave the young men worriedly peppering the older firefighters with questions.

    There was the night a classic rock song came on the radio and an older firefighter said it reminded him of Vietnam. A young firefighter looked at him blankly.

    The task of teaching the newly filled ranks has been complicated by what is at once a good but still handicapping reality: the city has far fewer fires, where the real seasoning of firefighters takes place. So the accelerated pace of retirements and promotions has dealt the city's firehouses an almost impossible mandate

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,030
    A veteran firefighter, Ron Daly, helping train a new firefighter, John Davies, to lower himself from a building.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •