Good news! I have muscles I never knew I had. Bad news. I’m so sore I feel like the age I really am. Really, really good news! The Anchorage Fire Department is one of the best fire departments in the nation. I’m ready to join. But I admit. I couldn’t keep up. No way. No how.
Yesterday, my legislative assistant Dirk Moffatt and I participated in Fire Ops 101. As the title implies, the activity was an overview of what our Anchorage Fire Department does every day to protect us. Along with other policy makers, we did a first hand extraction of a victim from an automobile crash, went into a burning building, had an opportunity to climb a six story aerial ladder, and attended to a cardiac arrest victim from arrival on scene to the Regional Hospital ambulance garage entrance.
First of all, getting into the firefighter outfit was no small task - at least for me: heavy protective clothing, gloves, boots, air bottle pack, head hood, helmet, and goggles. All in all, about 75 pounds. Add that to the fat poundage I carry around every day, and you’ve got a heavy legislator.
During the extraction of the victim from the car, I got to use the “jaws of life” to pry the car door away from the frame, and to use an instrument to break the glass out of a car window (legally). The being-in-a burning-building experience gave us an opportunity to use a thermal imaging device that made it possible to see the fire through the smoke and darkness (without it, couldn’t see anything and it was spooky).
Yes I did climb the aerial ladder but, I must disclose, only about the first eight or nine steps. Taking my time, I could have gone all the way up - but we were on a fast schedule, and the fire department couldn’t wait thirty days for me to get all the way up the ladder. But I did get a ride in the ladder bucket to the top of the aerial ladder. It’s a great view - and only scary when you look down.
There’s much talk about the need for health insurance. But let me tell you this. The Anchorage Fire Department is some of the most outstanding “health insurance” you’ll ever get!