Today is our first shift back after having four days off here in the Model City. Of course, I ended up working two of the four days for some of my brothers that covered shifts for me during my November trip to New York. Our department is really good about letting us trade shifts as long as we have the same medical certification and rank as the one we are trading with. For the most part, they let us police it ourselves. This is beneficial to us, and if you ended up screwing over someone by not returning the time owed, than the word gets around. Before you know it, no one will trade time with you because they hear how you treated another brother/sister firefighter. I have the usual one or two off of the other shifts that I trade with, but also usually don’t have a problem finding someone when I need it. The last New York trip fell during my cycle, so I had to get a 24 hour shift covered.

My engine is running medical today, therefore, it could turn in to a busy evening for us. I have been preparing some of the logistics for my New York trip the past few days. It looks like we are going to have another great crew traveling up with us at the end of the week.

The last trip, only two of us from my area went. This time, we will be renting a 15 passenger van and will be taking at least 5 guys from the Tri-City area in Tennessee. It sounds like the Charlotte crew is also having a good turnout, and I believe they are picking up two in Maryland. There has also been mention that two firefighters from Ohio are going to be driving over to the Coakley House to work with us. I really look forward to meeting these guys that are dedicated to the fire service and helping those in need.

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The donations are also coming along well. We have had Higher Ground Baptist donate 300$ towards our van rental, and Victory Van Rentals cut us a deal on the van. Several other citizens/firefighters/businesses from the area have pledged donations that we will be collecting over the next few days.

Tomorrow morning, I have an interview for a Technical Rescue Team opening within my department. Our department operates the Technical Rescue Team and Haz-Mat Team for the area. Each of the 3 shifts has 7 members of each team that is ready for deployment at all times. They are able to immediately respond and call back the 14 off-duty members to assist with the situation. These slots don’t come open very often, and when they do, it is due to retirements/promotions. I believe there are 9 of us interviewing for one immediate opening, and there are potentially a few more openings in the near future.

Technical rescue has always been an interest of mine since I joined my volunteer department in 2004. I have had the opportunity to attend several technician classes throughout my years in the fire service, and I believe they have helped prepare me to hopefully officially be on the team at my full-time department at some point in my career. There are 8 other very qualified individuals, and I’m sure they want it just as bad as I do.

The department recently adopted an application/interview process for the special teams to have a more formal way of selecting the future members. We will have an oral interview with the three team leaders, and they will select the next member(s) of the team.

Aside from the interview, I still have a lot of packing and preparing to do for my next New York trip. Everything has went smooth so far, and I can’t wait to return to help my brothers of Engine 217 FDNY. Last trip, we didn’t have much time for site seeing, and I don’t expect this trip will be any different. We will travel up on Friday and return on Monday after working two full days.

Read my recent posts about New York by reading Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

I am thankful that I will be back home to spend the holidays with my girlfriend, Rachel, and our families. This is the first time in 5 years that my 4-day break has hit during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I can’t wait!

That’s all for now,