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Posts tagged ‘firefighters’

Word a Day: Day 2 – Bravery

It’s day 2 of the Word a Day challenge, and today’s word is bravery. I’ve been running this one through my head. Bravery isn’t something I have a lot of. Most of the time I’m an anxious mess.

But, in my opinion, some of the bravest men(and women!) are firefighters, particularly volunteer firefighters. They put themselves into dangerous situations, fires, responding to traffic accidents. And in the case of volunteers, they don’t get anything back for it.

I started writing my Flames series about a group of paid firefighters, and then I spun off that to another series to honor those volunteers. One of those is the younger brother of one of the paid firefighters.

Jace snorted. “I’m no hero, Nolan. I know that perfectly well. I’m just an artist. I’m nothing like you.”
Usually batting around the hero term irritated his brother. Right now, he just looked concerned, though. “Who the hell ever made you think that, little brother?”
“No one ever had to. I know it’s the truth.”
“Your truth is mistaken. You’re no less a hero than I am. Why would you think that about yourself?” He shook his head. “Seriously, little brother. You are an amazing artist, and no one can, or should even try, to take that away from you. But, it’s not all that defines you. You know I hate that hero label, especially since I’m paid to do what I do. How is it heroic to be doing my job?” Another shake of his head, as if none of it made sense to him. “But you? Dad, Tate, Jess. You don’t get paid back for what you put out there. You do it because you want to, because you feel called to it, because it’s the right thing for you to do. Those things might apply to me too, but I get compensated for it. So don’t ever deride yourself like that. Do you understand me?”

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SOCS/JusJoJan – Day 9: Title

Welcome back to Day 9 of Just Jot It January and also my second Stream of Consciousness(why can I never spell this right the first time?) Saturday. I’ve actually been doing pretty good. I missed the first day and last Wednesday because I was posting my RoW80 update & WiPPet Wednesday snippet. I probably could have linked back on that one since I jotted stuff down, but…I didn’t.

Anyway, maybe it’s because yesterday’s post was about one of my firefighter characters, this is the title that popped into my head when I read the prompt for this week’s SOCS. So a probably quick story starring my two former Marines/firefighters.

“Backdraft Conditions”

Mark pulled the mask down over his face before settling his helmet over his head. Beside him, Nolan performed the same actions, almost as if they were in sync with each other. The building in front of them was already fully involved, and he could see the aerial truck putting the ladder to one of the higher windows.

He headed forward, with Nolan still right beside him and through the door that had already been forced open. The heat blasted over him, even through his protective gear. If it wasn’t for that, there’d be no way he’d be able to walk in here.

“Hallway to the left,” Nolan said.

Mark wasn’t even sure how he could see that. The smoke was so thick, it was difficult to see more than the vague outline of walls and furniture. But, he moved to the left anyway. He’d learned a long time ago that Nolan very rarely steered him wrong. Sure enough, there was a hallway leading to more doors.

The smoke cleared a bit down here, so he could even make out some of the numbers on the doors. “How many of these are occupied?”

“Manager said most of them. They’re almost to full capacity this weekend. Some conference or something.”

“How many got out?”

“No idea,” Nolan replied, the tone in his voice sending prickles of worry down Mark’s spine.

The small hotel had twenty rooms, ten on each floor. It looked like almost all ten were down this hallway. The other wing must have the dining room and bar. They’d need to clear all the rooms. The fire had started late in the night, but he’d think the shrieking of the fire alarm would have woken everyone up. But, he’d known people who could sleep through even that.

They each took one side of the hallway, opening doors and calling out to anyone who might still be inside. It seemed everyone had cleared out from the first floor at least. His feet stilled as he came to the third door in the hallway, though.

Dark yellow smoke puffed out from under the door then seemed to be drawn back into the room. The signs of a potential backdraft situation had been drilled into him in the fire academy, but this was the first time he’d actually seen it for himself.

“Nolan,” he called across the hallway without taking his eyes from the door. Someone could be in that room. But, if he opened the door, it would introduce oxygen into the room and likely ignite. It could be enough to take out both him and his partner.

“What-?” Nolan started to ask was finished with a quick, “Oh shit.” Then, he must have gotten on the radio because he said, “We need venting on the first floor, left wing on the back side. Third room in from the lobby.” He felt Nolan move up beside him then. “Don’t open the door until they get it vented.”

Nolan had been with the fire department about two years longer than he had, so he trusted what the other man said. Still, he asked, “What if there’s someone in there?” If they could have got a victim out but were too late because they waited, he wasn’t sure if could carry that burden. Let alone the others that weighed him down so often.

“You open that door, and we could all be goners.” Nolan didn’t move from his side, though. He never had.

Then a voice, their lieutenant’s voice, came back over the radio. “It’s done, Hunter. Get in there.”

Nolan helped Mark force the door open, and they both stepped through. He scanned the room quickly, noticed smoke coming from behind the wall, seeping in alone the ceiling and floor. Then, his gaze caught on the lump on the floor. It looked like the occupant had tried to get out but had lost consciousness. Mark hurried over to him and saw the slight rise and fall of his chest. “Still alive.”

“Get him out,” Nolan said. “I’ll finish checking the rooms.”

Mark glanced at him. They were supposed to stay together. Two in, two out. But, sometimes that wasn’t the way it happened. “I better not have to come back in to rescue your ass.”

He couldn’t see much more than Nolan’s eyes through the mask, but he could imagine his friend grinning at that crack. It wouldn’t be the first time they’d used a sort of morbid humor to cover fears. They’d served in the Corps together for four years. There’d been a lot of that.

Mark slung the victim over his shoulder, the easiest and quickest way to get him out and headed back down the hallway. Once he’d been transferred to an ambulance and the care of a paramedic, Mark turned back toward the building. Nolan hadn’t come out yet. His PASS device hadn’t activated, though, which meant he was still moving in there somewhere. Had he found another victim? Did he need help?

He would have called for assistance if that was the case. Still, he was ready to head back into the building to find him when his best friend’s voice came through the lieutenant’s radio. “Left wing’s clear. Coming out.”

Mark let out a breath and took his helmet then mask off. For a moment, he’d feared he’d have to stand on the Hunter’s doorstep and tell them it was his fault one of their sons was gone. It wouldn’t have been the first loss of life he’d felt the weight of. But, he wasn’t sure he’d survive this one.

It didn’t matter now. They’d gotten the job done and were both heading home. There wasn’t much more he could ask for.

A to Z: V is for Volunteers

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A volunteer firefighter is one who is not a career firefighter. Apparently in some places, they may even be paid. Not here. In our area, we depend on volunteers. In the city, and some of the larger towns, there are paid departments. But, here in the northwestern corner of Pennsylvania, there are a lot of small, rural towns. Places that can’t afford to pay a department.

As I mentioned in my theme reveal post, my husband is a volunteer firefighter. He’s also the Chief Safety Officer for our department, is certified at Firefighter I, and has many other certifications. He’s one of the few in our department who is also a certified rescue diver. He’s done a lot of training, aside from the twice a month drills at the department. A lot of weekends of him gone most of the day. Dinners where the pager goes off, and he’s up and gone. Every Wednesday night with him gone for either a meeting or drill night. And now he’s started helping out with the department’s Explorer program, which means Tuesday nights with him gone as well.

My husband with his Firefight of the Year Award(this is the traveling trophy. He got a plaque the next year).

My husband with his Firefight of the Year Award(this is the traveling trophy. He got a plaque the next year).

Unfortunately, recently there’s been a volunteer slump. We have an awards banquet each Spring. And the Chief always has the firefighters stand by years of service. This past year, there were just a few standing for the 5-10 years and even less in the 0-5 year group. Less and less join up each year. This is becoming more of a problem as the older firefighters step back or down. Like I said, we depend on these volunteers around here. Without them, a lot more buildings would burn to the ground.

I know I’ve mentioned my Flames series a few times through this month. That one is based on a paid department set in a small fictional city in our corner of the state. But, while sitting at this year’s awards banquet, I got the sudden idea that I wanted to write something that focused more on these volunteers. At the time I was just starting to plot out a different story, so I let that simmer in my mind for a couple weeks. Once I finished plotting the other one(a western, actually), I had a few ideas for this new series. Or really, a spin-off from the Flames series. In fact, the first story will star Jace Hunter, Nolan Hunter’s little brother. Right now, it’s going to focus on this family, as they are just about all involved in the volunteer department. I’m really excited to get this one started, but I have to finish Nolan’s first, as the events in Jace’s story kind of springboard off what happens during Nolan’s.

My future firefighter(this is from 2013, but he still has that coat & helmet)

My future firefighter(this is from 2013, but he still has that coat & helmet)

Fire Friday: A-Z Challenge

For the first time, I’m going to attempt the A-Z blogging challenge. I’ve thought about it in the past, but that’s about all the farther I’ve gotten since I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to come up with enough topics and keep up with it. But, this year, I’ve decided to at least give it a try.

APRIL-CALENDAR [2015]

Knowing myself as well as I do, I know without a theme, this just isn’t going to happen. For those who have been following me for a while, you know I write a series that revolves around firefighters. You may not know that I’m also married to one(volunteer). Also, I grew up right next to a fire station, and my uncle and various cousins(first and distant) are also volunteers. So, for this month, I will be blogging about different terms related to the fire service. Some(maybe a lot) of these will have some personal experience mixed in. So, that will be 6 posts a week for this plus my twice weekly RoW80 updates. This should be interesting. 🙂

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Week 1:

4/1: A – Arson

4/2: B – Backdraft

4/3: C – Class of Fire

4/4: D – Drafting

Week 2:

4/6: E – Explorers

4/7: F – Forcible Entry

4/8: G – Ground Ladder

4/9: H – Halligan

4/10: I – Interior Attack

4/11: J – Jaws of Life

Week 3:

4/13: K – K-tool

4/14: L – Ladder

4/15: M – Mutual Aid

4/16: N – NFPA

4/17: O – Overhaul

4/18: P – PASS Device

Week 4:

4/20: Q – Quad or Quint

4/21: R – Rapid Intervention

4/22: S – SCBA

4/23: T – Turnout Gear

4/24: U – Under Control

4/25: V – Volunteers

Week 5:

4/27: W – Working Fire

4/28: X – X-trication

4/29: Y – Wye

4/30: Z – Zone

Wow, some of those were hard to decide on. Not many terms for X, Y, and Z. Had to get a little creative. 🙂 Anyway, I’m thinking of making this a monthly feature, even after this challenge is over. I may stick it in with my revolving Friday topics.

Release Day: Flames of Redemption

The day is here. Adrian and Kayla have finally been released into the world. I’m very excited about this one. And nervous. I hope everyone will enjoy it.

Available now

Available now

You can add it to your goodreads

Or purchase at: Amazon| B&N| Kobo

Once lit, there’s no stopping this blaze.

Kayla Brooke has firefighting in her blood. She followed her father’s footsteps into the Crystal Glen Fire Department, but when she shows an interest in the whys, she moves into her uncle’s path; fire investigation. Fighting the flames has cost her: a man she thought she’d loved and friends taken by the flames that call to her. After her fiance walked out on her because he could handle what she was, she never expected another man to light a different kind of fire in her blood. Until Adrian Riley ran into her life.

Adrian Riley came from a family of cops, but he decided to start over in a town where no one knows his family. Now, on the fast track to promotion, he thinks this new case could be the key to proving himself. Then, he butts heads with a hotheaded firefighter on the scene, and his whole world turns upside down. She could be the key to everything, or the one weakness that could take him down.

They fight the sparks that threaten to burn them both. But, once they light, there’s no stopping the blaze. Kayla’s been burned before, but this time the flames may consume her. When more fires start, they know it’s more than a simple case. But, when the arsonist seems to have turned his attention to Kayla, Adrian will do everything within his power to keep her safe, even stand between her and the fire.

Excerpt:

This was a mistake. It would blow up right in their faces, and she wasn’t sure if either of them would survive the blast. She had never run from the things that scared her before.
Kayla released the doorknob. “I feel it,” she said, swallowing down her fear and turning toward him. “I’ve felt it ever since I saw you standing on the other side of the funeral home. Maybe since that day on the street. It pissed me off, and it terrified me.”
He had started to raise his hand to touch her face, but her words seemed to stop him. “Why?”
“I felt like this once before, drawn to someone. He thought that meant he could tell me what I could and couldn’t do.”
His face went hard. “Did he hurt you?”
“No, not like that. He wanted to keep me under his control. When I wouldn’t buckle to his demands, he walked away. I felt so used. I got over him, but I’m not going to trust this pull is enough.”
“Of course, it isn’t,” he said, finally stroking her cheek. “There’s more to it than that. I know you can feel it. It’s not just some pull. There are sparks. It’s a damn spontaneous combustion. It’s not going to go away until we burn it out of our systems.”
She struggled to breathe. Is that what she’d hoped for in coming here, to get this out of her system? She knew it was, even though she would never admit it out loud. “Do you know what happens when sparks contact an ignition source?” she asked, running her hand up his chest and looking up into his eyes.
“I’m guessing that’s firefighter speak for ‘things go boom’.” He pulled down the zipper of her coat then slid it away from her arms.
“Incendiary,” she murmured.
“Hot.”
He ran a finger down her neck. She could feel the quiver all the way down to her stomach, which clenched as his touch moved down the shirt, between her breasts, barely brushing the sides of them.
“Adrian.”
“Shh. I’m concentrating here.”

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