Have you ever driven by the Fire Stations on a Saturday and seen what looks like everything we own sitting outside? I imagine to those who don’t know better it looks like the Firefighters are having a garage sale! The truth is that we are washing our apparatus bay floors. Much like you may run a vacuum sweeper through your house once a week, we clean the floors that our trucks sit on every Saturday. As I was helping my crew finish up this “chore” today, I reminisced about why we do what we do.
We wash our floors so that we can more easily determine when one of our apparatus develops an oil leak. We want to be alerted to any leaks that occur in-between the routine inspections of our trucks because we cannot afford for a serious problem to present itself on the way to a call or during operations on a scene. When we see an oil leak we can initiate a service request to our maintenance team to quickly address the issue therefore keeping those expensive trucks that you provide us with in top running condition.
We wash our floors because we don’t want to bring in unknown “icky” things to our living quarters. Our job requires us to walk in and out of places that may not be our ideal of sanitary. Our boots may have unknown chemicals, blood, other “bodily” fluids, or any other sorts of nasty things that you could imagine stepping in. Naturally when we return from calls we do our best to keep the nasties out of our living and office space, but we know some of it makes it back to our apparatus floors. It is also not uncommon for us to run onto our apparatus floor in nothing more than our socks when a call comes out at night. So weekly (and more often when necessary) the floors get a thorough washing to help us ensure that we are not unduly exposed to hidden dangers in our own quarters.
But most importantly, we wash our floors because we are proud of our station and our equipment. We want everything that you see when you come visit the fire station to be a reflection of our motto: Pride in Service. Our community provides us with some of the best equipment available to do our jobs. We want you to know that we do not take that for granted. We understand the commitment that the citizens have made to our success and we want that to reflect in the pride we have in our equipment and facilities.
In much the same way I feel when I have to vacuum my house, I can feel humdrum about washing our apparatus bay floors. Then I stop and think about how lucky I am to be doing the greatest job in the world in this extremely supportive community and all those humdrum feelings are overcome with something far better……Pride in Service.