A Day In the Life of a Firefighter

A Day in the Life of a CHFR Firefighter
This is a look at an average day for firefighters within the Cedar Hammock Fire Department. A firefighter’s work week averages 56 hours per week being on duty 24 hours and off duty the next 48 hours. Crews have specific training six days a week along with various other duties, which includes public education talks, inspections, flowing of district hydrants, and everyday tasks. Most importantly, a firefighter responds to any emergency at any given time from wherever they may be. The following is a time line of an average day:
0700 -0730: Arrive at the Station and Prepare for Shift
 0730-0830: Apparatus and Equipment Check – Oncoming crews place their personal gear and equipment on the apparatus once they have been thoroughly checked and inspected. Apparatus operators check all equipment on the truck to ensure it is safe and in operating order. Additionally, operators ensure batteries are fresh, oxygen is full in the medical kit, water tank is full, emergency lighting is operational, fuel is full, etc. Firefighters not assigned to drive assist by starting and operating necessary equipment. Staff vehicles are also checked to ensure they are in operating order. During this time, the station generator is also checked .
0830-0900: Briefing with Station Officer – At this time firefighters are briefed by the station officer on the daily objectives. This would include training for the day, any special assignments, and/or pertinent information.
0900-1130: Training – A calendar is put out by the Training Officer each month that specifies training for each day. Firefighters have required training six days a week except Saturdays, which is specified as a detailed cleaning day for each station. Training varies from practical evolutions to classroom work. Each firefighter must pass a monthly test that covers material trained on during that month.
1130-1300: Lunch Break – Crews will generally eat lunch at some point during this time. Some crews may shop and prepare meals together while other crews bring prepared food. Firefighters may also choose to eat out in their designated area (zone) if time permits. At anytime crews may have to leave behind a meal to respond to emergencies.
1300-1700: Objectives Completed – This time is allotted to complete assigned objectives and station cleaning. Each station has specific housekeeping chores to be completed during this time. It could be cleaning windows or washing and waxing apparatus. Every hydrant in the district is flowed, painted, and serviced each year. Each business in the district is inspected twice yearly. Firefighters will assist our Fire Prevention Bureau with these duties. This time can also be used to make repairs to equipment and station property if needed. Crews take pride in maintaining their equipment and stations as they spend a full 24-hour shift on duty. This time can also be used for further training if needed.
1700-2000: Dinner – Crews will generally eat at some point during this time. Some crews may shop and prepare meals together while others choose to eat out or bring their own. Firefighters are responsible for their own meal costs. At anytime crews are subject to emergency calls and may have to postpone or leave meals behind.
After Dinner: After dinner crews generally wind down and this time is for them to recoup from a hard days work. They take showers, call home, check e-mail, study or whatever the individual needs to get done. Some crews will watch a movie or TV together, exercise in our fitness room or shoot a few hoops of basketball. This time is also when crews make their bunks for the evening. Depending on the station, crews sleep in either private rooms or dormitory type sleeping quarters..
0600-0630: Wake Up – Everyone must be out of bed by 0630. Some crews elect to get up earlier. At this time crews will make their bunks and get started on their morning chores. Morning chores include cleaning bathrooms, taking out the trash, vacuuming, and mopping the floors. All apparatus are washed every morning, which is part of the pride and tradition of the fire service.
0700-0730: Shift Exchange – This time is used to exchange information with oncoming crews, detailing the previous day’s events. Crews are relieved of duty at 0730 and are free to go home unless manning for the oncoming shift is below minimum and you are up on the holdover list. This means you are required to stay for an additional 24 hours of duty. This does not happen that often, but is a part of the job.
In summary; we have provided a look into the daily routine of your Cedar Hammock Firefighters. Remember: At any given time during their 24-hour shift, when there is an emergency, nothing else supersedes their response to that emergency.