Eng251 Post… Sorry I’m late yall

It’s not an easy task to get your turnout gear on in under a minute. We had to do this to pass our SSO (Scene Support Operations) class, and I knew I would either finish before all the guys, or come in dead last. You are fighting to get all your safety apparel on in a small amount of time, so if you mess up you have to redo it before you get anywhere near a fire, and have wasted time getting to the fire, or you risk being unprepared and getting injured anyway.
First you have to make sure your boots have been put in your pants so that the pants are rolled down and you can pick up all three pieces by the top handles of the boots. When the time starts, you step into the boots, and then pull the pants up your legs and the suspenders over your shoulders (you better hope nobody wore those bunker pants before you, because it was probably a really fat guy and the suspenders are near-impossible to tighten). All three buttons up the crotch have to be closed, and then a flap gets hooked across your waste – don’t even think about skipping this step because if you have a good instructor he’ll life up your jacket to check the flap on your pants. Next you get your hood on, it covers your head, ears, and neck, and anything else your helmet misses in that general vicinity. You have to put your jacket on before your gloves, because there’s about ten buttons down the inside and ten hook clasps down the outside that you need your fingers to do right- and don’t you think he won’t push that flap aside to make sure the buttons are all snapped.
You’re almost done when you put your helmet on. After you hook that strap and flip down your secondary eye shield, all you need is to slide on your gloves and you’re finished. Well that’s where my problem comes in. I might have everything on up until the helmet, and everyone else is still buttoning his pants, but this helmet is going to give me hell. You have to understand that this gear was built for a man: there are six inches between the tip of my toes and the end of the boots, the suspenders have been tightened as small as they go and they still slide down my right shoulder, the jacket goes down to my knees and the sleeves hang well past my hands. All the guys in SSO have short hair, even the one girl from Old Kill has a caeser, but I include her as one of the guys because she has no features that distinguish her from them, right down to her deep voice. Well if you know me, you may have noticed my hair is about four feet long. In the summer, when we took SSO, it was hot enough that I had to wear my hair up every day. No matter how hard I tried, there was no way to get that helmet on over my hair. Our mean instructor Carl said I’d have to cut it off if I was gonna do this seriously. I laughed in his face. I knew there would be a way to get around this – just like there was a way to get around me lifting the dead weight of a 6’1” man off the ground by myself a week earlier. So, I started coming to class every night with my hair in braids. By doing this my head was pretty much flat all around, and I could put the hood over them and hide them completely. It worked great until my cousin pointed out that there was no way to do this for real fire calls, since as a volunteer they can be at any time of the day or week – but my instructor didn’t hear that.
I’ve never had to put on turnout gear since I finished SSO. I’ve only responded to two scenes, and as a probie they didn’t buy anything that fits me, so I just directed traffic at one, and straightened out hoses at the other. It’s clear though, that no matter how out of shape or incompetent the old men I volunteer with are, I’ll always be singled out for my faults because I’m the girl.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    chelbelle said,

    You do a really good job of showing in this description. Every step and pice of equipment is very detailed, which helps me picture you racing to get all of this stuff on (which I have no idea how you do it…I’d probably take at least fifteen minutes). I also like how you show how being the ‘girl’ singles you out, obviously none of these guys have the long hair you do. I think it’s awesome that you do this..go girl 😉

  2. 2

    corporateplayboy said,

    Keep doing what you do. Being singled out because you’re the girl isn’t going to change anytime soon. All you can do is keep your head up, do your best and show them that you really don’t give a shit what anyone thinks. Success is the best revenge (well, in this case anyway).

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