Last Monday was the official launch of my book, "The Light of Epertase: Legends Reborn." In celebration, I... well I... uh... worked at the fire house. I know, kind of a letdown, huh?
When I arrived at work I was told that a brand new, first-day-out-of-the-academy, rookie firefighter was going to be on the truck with me. What's that mean for a lieutenant? A lot, actually. It means, among other things, on emergencies I have to keep a close eye on what he is doing in addition to my regular lieutenant duties. It also means that I need to sit down with him and explain what I expect on fire scenes, EMS calls, and around the station in general. Sure, he has had wonderful training in Columbus' fire academy, but it's a little different doing it for real.
Unfortunately, I only had an hour with him before I went to a meeting where I discussed my new position as a training officer for battalion four. But in that hour with him, we pulled some of the hose off of the truck for practice (called advancing hoselines) because different stations load their hose in different ways. And then I went to my training meeting.
After my meeting, I met with the rookie again, only this time the battalion chief joined us so he could lay out what he expects of new guys (and gals) at the station. As I went through the day with the new guy, I was careful to remember my own first nervous day and I tried to make him as comfortable possible. By that, I mean as comfortable as one could be with the imminent threat of a life-or-death situation weighing on them for 24 hours. I remember how my mind was racing on my first day and I wanted to give him a sense of calm. If you are excited and high-strung before a call comes in, then when the actual action starts, it'll inevitably get worse from there.
You ever played that game where you hold your hands out palms down and someone else holds their palms upward against yours? You know the one, where they try to smack the top of your hands before you yank them away. It doesn't take long before you are flinching at every subtle movement that the other person makes. Now, imagine that feeling throughout your entire body for 24 straight hours and I think you can understand how on edge he probably felt. The trick to the first few days at the fire house is to get past those feelings and to stop jumping at every crack of the PA speaker. He will; it'll just take time.
Between the calls and the paperwork and the rookie, you can see how I spent most of my launch day, far too busy to think much about my book. Does it sound like the air has been let out of the launch day sails a little? Yeah, probably a bit, but that's OK. My celebration will actually be on Saturday when I have my official launch party. In preparation for that, the local newspaper did a story on me (see blog here: ), I did a radio interview on Tuesday, and flyers have been posted in stores everywhere. So, hopefully, the launch party will be highly successful and a tad more fun than my actual launch day. We shall see.
But my launch day did end better. When I came home from work the next morning, my wife had left me a gift on the table next to a chocolate chip cookie cake as a congratulations. I ask you, what could be better than cake?