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Just Jot It January: Day 10 – “Danger”

“I don’t like it.”

“Well, I don’t really like you running willingly into danger,” Silas snapped out at Jeremiah. “Yet you do it anyway.”

“I don’t run into anything. That would be stupid and dangerous. And I never go in alone.”

Silas shook his head, and Jeremiah was pretty sure he caught an eye roll, too. “You’re smarter than that. You could do anything.”

“Do you really think anyone is a firefighter because they can’t do anything else? Nolan was going to school for psychology before he joined the Marines. And trust me, he could have gone back when he got out, but he felt called to do this instead. Is my sister stupid? Pretty sure she wouldn’t be able to put the pieces together to investigate how they started them if she was. And Uncle James says she’s one of the best investigators he’s had.”

“I didn’t mean anything like that,” Silas said. “I just…I worry about you, Jer. I see the stories of firefighters getting hurt or killed doing their job and can’t help but think if it were you. And that nearly kills me.”

That took most of the fire out of his anger. “I know,” he said quietly. “I grew up with a father then a sister who answered the call. I know it can be hard to be the one who stays behind. I’ve never seen Mom so relieved as the day Dad retired.” He smiled then. “Even if it’s been a rough adjustment having him home all the time.”

Silas managed a laugh at that, though from the turmoil in his eyes, everything wasn’t fine yet. And Jeremiah didn’t have time to make it better unless he wanted to be late for the shift he’d picked up. “Try not to worry,” he told Silas. “I’m trained, and so is everybody riding on that truck with me. We’re as safe as we can be. And now I have to go.”

But, that didn’t make leaving Silas and his worry behind any easier.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is day 10 of Just Jot It January and today’s prompt was “danger”. As the wife of a firefighter(volunteer), I can certainly understand Silas’ worry here.

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A to Z: N is for Nolan Hunter

N

Nolan Hunter is another character who was supposed to basically be a throwaway. I simply needed another firefighter in the scene. Then, as I was plotting Flames of Retribution(book 3), I realized he was a very close friend of Mark’s. And I realized why. It was about halfway through writing that one, I also realized Nolan has a secret he’s been keeping(even from that closest friend) and that he’d be getting his own story. I actually thought his story would come right after Mark’s, but I was surprised again. There was one other between them, but I’m working on Nolan’s right now.

Name: Nolan Hunter

Age: 34/35

Parents: Carrick & Ariana Hunter

Siblings: Older brothers – Tate & Kelan, Younger brother – Jace, Younger sister – Jessica

Occupation: firefighter

Background: Nolan grew up in Crystal Glen right in the middle of a large family. The son of a construction worker and art teacher, he always felt slightly apart from his close-knit family. Always a bit quiet and introspective, he still wasn’t the creative type. He spent two years in college pursuing a degree in psychology before leaving to join the Marine Corps. He served for four years, but after being wounded and realizing it wasn’t the life for him, didn’t reenlist. Instead, he went home and joined the fire department as he still wanted to help people. But, he worried the same people who had welcomed him home as a hero would shun him if they ever learned the secret he kept.

And a snippet from Nolan’s story(him & Mark are talking about Mark’s sister at the beginning. And yes, I need to clear up who’s saying what better. This is rough).

“What’s she have to say anyway? I know the kids start to school next week.”
“Evan’s being a fuckhead about something. She didn’t say what exactly, except he apparently wants them back. Asshole,” he muttered.
“He didn’t care about them when he had them. Why would he want them back now?”
“I don’t know, brother. She says she won’t go back. I just hope she sticks to it.”
“You know, I used to think she was happy just being the trophy wife. If I’d known how miserable she actually was-”
“She didn’t want you to know, Mark. I knew. I could hear it when I talked to her. But, she denied it even to me. She’d just say she was tired or the kids were wearing her out. I knew that wasn’t it, but I let it go.” He clenched his fist now. “I wish I’d done more before she was completely miserable.”
“It wasn’t for you to do anything. It’s still not.”
His head whipped back up, but Mark held his hands out in front of him. “No need to jump at me, brother. I’m not saying I’d stand in the way if she wants a relationship with you. I’m just saying she has to be the one to make herself not miserable. Isn’t that pretty much what you told me earlier this year.”
Nolan knew his friend was right. And it’s what he’d been telling Mark for longer than six months. More like six years. “I was going to check on them when our shift is over.”
He caught the smirk on Mark’s face but ignored it. “Should I keep my tux handy?” he asked.
Nolan barked out a laugh. “Like you own one. I figured you’d wear Class As like you did to Kayla’s wedding.” Then, he froze at what he’d just insinuated. “Shit. I didn’t mean that. I don’t have any plans to marry your sister.”
“And why not?” Mark asked. “There’s nothing wrong with her. Are you ashamed of your feelings for her, too?”
Damn, why did it feel like everyone was ganging up on him on this topic? “I’m not ashamed of any of my feelings. I’ve told you that before. But, she’s just getting out of one marriage. Why would I rush her into another?”
“I noticed you haven’t done much rushing,” Mark admitted. “That kind of surprised me.”
“I figured she’d need some space. Time to figure out what she wants. I’ll be there for her when she does decide what that is, though.”
“And if she decides it’s not you?” Mark asked, serious again.
He shrugged one shoulder. “I’ll be fine.”
Nolan knew by the look Mark sent him that he didn’t really believe it. Nolan wasn’t so sure he did either. But, he needed to make himself. He knew she’d been pushed into the relationship with her ex-husband by her father. This time a relationship had to be her decision, not anyone else’s.

A to Z: F is for Forcible Entry

F

This one is probably self-explanatory, but forcible entry is the gaining of entry to an area using force. Of course, there’s also the legal definition, which puts it as the criminal act of taking possession of a house by physical force or threats. That’s not what I’m detailing here, though. Sometimes when responding to a fire, the firefighters need to get inside but can’t just open the door. They still need to find a way in, though.

There are five groups of tools used to gain entrance: striking, prying, cutting, pulling, and through the lock. Different circumstances will call for different tools. Probably any one could get you in, but the right one is the one that gets you in the quickest(Fire Training Toolbox).

A striking tool will apply enough force to break a lock or help drive another tool. However, the weight of a tool doesn’t necessarily equal its force. Too heavy of a tool won’t have enough speed to force entry. The most common of these are the flathead ax and sledge hammer. The ax can be used to strike objects or also to drive a Halligan bar(more on this Thursday). In fact, paired together, the ax and Halligan is one of the most common forcible entry tools. The sledge is used in much the same way as the ax. It can break down doors, and some of the smaller sizes can also drive the Halligan.

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Prying tools are used to pull doors away from the jamb, lift objects, and also expose a lock. These include the Halligan bar, Kelly tool, and also crowbars and pry bars. The most common of these is the Halligan, which comes in many different lengths and weights. It has three parts: an adz, pike, and fork. The Kelly tool isn’t quite as common as the Halligan anymore, and lacks the pike.

Cutting tools, as you can imagine, are used to cut through a door or wall or open up a locking mechanism. These include the ax, bolt cutters, and saws. As well as striking, the flathead ax can be used to break through doors or walls. The pick head ax is less effective as a forcible entry tool, but can cut through doors and walls and also be used to puncture, pull, or pry. Saws come in two types: rotary or chain saw and should be handled by two firefighters. There are three different types of blades, depending on the material that needs to be cut through. Carbide-tipped blades are best used on wood, composite materials, and light-gauge metal. Metal cutting blades are typically made of aluminum oxide and are used on locks, steel doors, and roll-down gates. Masonry cutting blades are made of silicon carbide or even steel with a diamond matrix blade. These blades can be used to cut through different kinds of stone(including concrete and brick).

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Pulling tools are actually most often used for searching for hidden fire, but they can also be used for forcible entry. The most common is the pike pole. Even though these are mostly used to pull down ceilings or walls(in searching for those hidden fires), they can also be used to break windows to gain entry or for ventilation.

Through the lock tools can be used to pull a lock apart. The K-tool(more on this next week) can pull out the lock cylinder so you can trip the lock with a key tool. Similar to this are an A-tool or Rex tool.

Some of these forced modes of entry can be avoided by the use of a Knox box. A master key can access lock boxes to various properties. Some of these even include an accounting of the date, time, and user ID for each key release to help prevent abuse of this system. It does cut down on response time, property damage, and lost keys.

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