STORM MODE

Richard retired from the Forsyth County Fire Department. He had gotten married and was asked to stay home and comfort his New Wife when the Storms rolled through Vienna and Forsyth county.  He laughed as he told it … Ha He said “Honey I’m a Fireman and when it Storms we are always out in it”.  Truer words are never spoken. We are always out in it!

Vienna is blessed to have 2 brush trucks, multiple command level individuals, and very “wood” talented chainsaw masters. Down trees are not like any other wood that need cutting. Felling and sawing up trees is a simple task compared to the bent, twisted and pressure packed trees that fall on the roads. Asphalt waiting to kill the chain, power,cable,and phone lines add serious pressure to the simple task of cutting trees out of the road.

Clearing the road includes watching out for Traffic, More falling trees, the storm that caused the damage, and the tree(s) itself. The chain-sawyer and brush pullers have to work in harmony. Sometimes the obstacle prevents getting around even on foot . When that is the case we usually send someone around so traffic does not crash into us from that direction. We then can also work on two sides of the stuff. Trees, lines, vines, poison oak and ivy, piles of ice or snow all block the road. When its just a leaner or super large we call in DOT. Its magnificent to see the backhoe!!!

Storm Mode occurs once every 4-5 years. The term came into being because the Communications center receives more calls than they can dispatch. Usually it is a particular area of the county. Geographically departments share a common talk around channel put into use because the Emergency and Tactical channels get busy. Life safety emergencies are still dispatched on F1 and E1 but all Public service and non -life threatening are called into the stations. All stations set-up a call taker and dispatcher and divide into work crews. Call are received and handled according to priority.

We usually get a couple of  summer like storms each season and spring May storms roll through every Year. Just remember that there are Thousands of us out across the State when the Thunder Rolls. Working to save a life includes access to the areas of our district. Many are risking their lives so You will not be inconvenienced too long. Thanks for the support and as always- When you need help Call 911. Lots of Times you will be calling out a Firefighter into the Storm….

Musing from the Gate

Few activities take as much effort and mental stress as working with traffic. Most of the time I am working in the Emergency situation and there is no solution to the traffic issue. The road is closed or blocked or multiple roads are closed. Other times I am parking cars and  answering questions. The questions and route map was the case this past SR7B Conclave at Camp Raven Knob. Many of the 1500 arrowmen that arrived Friday were Wahissa Lodge members. Many knew nothing about our lovely CRK.

Camp Raven Knob is a special place that causes many to return again and again. The physical challenges of walking around camp are special to CRK. Sometimes it is uphill both ways to your campsite. Finding the way around after driving halfway across the state can be a challenge. We had our best and brightest at the Gate to welcome Arrowmen from  across the State. Parking passes were emailed and mailed and talked about continually for the past few weeks. We knew most would still need a map highlighted to their campsite.

Parking for Conclaves is always a challenge. Everybody would like to have the vehicle near the site. We have tried to accommodate most. Some areas of Camp had real North Carolina mud. We Spent 24,000 dollars on gravel but still we had mud. Parking for most sites filled up by suppertime. We had overflow parking scheduled but rain had another plan. The rain arrived as most of our folks showed up at the Gate. Maps were still highlighted and questions were answered. Delegates, Lodge advisors, Section officers, Council executives and Wahissa folks all had to stop and pass through the Gate. Almost all were still in a friendly mood even though it was raining.

Folks started getting their vehicles stuck almost immediately.  Lucky for us and them Keith Cook was johnny on the spot and got most issues handled. We had 8 to 10 vehicles in sight from noon till about 8pm at the Gate on Friday. Logistics had about 20 youth and adults for the early work Friday and our numbers swelled to about 50 by the end of the day. It takes about all 20 to keep parking lots and street directions monitored. The gate itself took 8-10 meeting and greeting the folks arriving.  We kept Admin busy sending out for maps and sending our Wahissa folks to Registration in the Barnhardt Training Center. We kept a presence on the Gate until about Noon Saturday. We then shifted the Logistics command position to the Front porch of the Log Cabin. The Adults tried to make sure the Youth of the Lodge were able to join our Delegation at the events. We had a tremendous Youth Leader and he had a faithful following of hard workers.

Logistics worked with all other groups providing whatever it took to make things happen for our guests. Some of the members of Logistics did not eat inside until the Saturday evening meal. We stayed available on the radio for about 18 hours of the day Friday and Saturday. We worked tirelessly along side all of our other chairmen and went out of our way to listen in and help ease everyone’s pain. We got to see almost all of the arrowmen that came through CRK’s gate. We fielded thousands of questions and gave thousands of answers. Some were classic questions and others were very funny. One of my favorites was “Do you think it will Rain?”… “YES”… It will rain at Raven Knob. Put the top up and come have Fun…. We are #1 –18

Humbled

There is never a more humbling experience then receiving an award of achievement. Some are recognition and some you strive to achieve. The Vigil Honor was an individual but group experience. I was honored but my service paled against what others have achieved in Scouting. Sitting in my first VNC was where it really hit home. Lists of individuals and achievements way longer than I had served or been alive. Well I have found 2 other such achievements in my Life. Silver Beaver and a little reception Troop 919 did for me on Bear Island.

The Silver Beaver Reception of 2017 honored 4 individuals that have given their lives to Scouting, community, and Service to fellow man. It was especially humbling to go Last and listen to the Biography of each and watch the faces. We were surrounded by both other Silver Beavers and Veterans of Scouting. The Historical association also gave lofty awards of achievement and merit.

I know I am busy and have a life of service…. There are others just like me in each and every community in the good old USA and possibly the world.  Our Scouting Service Awards are a reminder of how much everyone around does for his or her fellow man.

One of my seven deadly sins is Pride. I am proud of my accomplishments and the family of service I have had the chance to nurture. I really love it when one of my nurturees gets recognized. I pray I don’t let it get to my head.

This weekend was a total blur. Workweek and Silver Beaver Reception. Packing for a 6am start to canoe to Bear Island. Preparations for Adults and youth to survive and enjoy the trip to one of the North Carolina crown jewels. I take a trip to the coast every year. I enjoy the seemingly endless ocean. I love the solitude that even a crowded place can provide. Just walk a bit up or down the beach and alone!

We arrived with very little issue and found the T919 Adults and Youth unpacking the canoes and stuff. We set about getting waterproofed and packed for water. The youth leadership chose youth for the canoes and tent partners and we all shoved off. All canoes had patrol stuff and personal stuff. I backpacked so I could just carry whatever was needed. WE had very little issue and arrived at the dock in about an hour. We lunched and had less to carry on. We walked about a mile to our site. We setup and started enjoying the sun,sand and surf.

After we ate and cleaned up I walked up to the bathhouse to wash up and fill my water. I was met by Mike and we spent some time gazing at the constellations. When we got back the whole group forced me to sit and Thanks me for my Service 40 yrs and the Silver Beaver award. Then they went around the group and told Lasley stories. Some were hilarious and some were so touching  we got tears. I think there is no other tribute then to positively affect others lives. Thanks for showing me Why I continue to Participate.

Tim

 

Changes

I have poster that says ride the Wave of Change or get pounded by it!!!. My wave is constantly ebbing and flowing. I am on top of the Wave just about to ride for a while and then BAM I am looking up wondering how things grew so out of proportion? The changes seem to happen while I  am  Sleeping.

I have a High technology job that requires constant attention to detail and information. I employ several Automotive mechanics that require the cutting edge technology and information. I am constantly searching for better and more efficient ways to get the info I need. Best practices and  info from Thousands of other mechanics  are available except they all cost lots of DOLLARS. I have spent too much for too long on Info. I am looking to streamline my cost and the collective Internet is helping. Google anything and there are great videos and suggestions.

I am the MACHINE… That’s what everyone wants. HOOK IT TO THE MACHINE… I found out Years ago I AM THE MACHINE. I use  the tools of my trade. Voltmeter, Digital Oscilloscope, Vacuum Transducer, and Vacuum Pump. These Items make the Machine. We forgot one Item. Computer updates and INFORMATION… Sometimes fix the Vehicle with a simple plug in to the Computer. . Updates done free when in warranty period. Driven way to far and too long to get the warranty…

Never forget the seriously hard mechanical repairs. Many time called under car Services. Hard to deal with and time consuming. Rust and salt and time cause real issues with Time. That’s what I am selling. Time to get the Vehicle running and back to normal. The under hood services are time consuming. Front End and Under car is soon to b as tough as the proverbial Nails. Some repairs are time consuming but we have to take them  as they come.

Changes lately have been…Very Adult. and coming fast

Off we Go Again

Troop 919 is planning the yearly trip to Bear Island. Final preparations are tonight. My heart is looking forward to the trip. I am going to try to be a minimalist. Wet and warm or Sweaty and manageable. Rain is forecast and light wind. I have tried to get out in the wind and it is tough.

Bear Island is about 3 miles out from the Hammock’s Beach State Park.  We have chosen to be there before the water taxi starts. Less people and bears. The mosquitos will just be small ones that can only have lunch and not drag you back for dinner. Or if the wind keeps constant no bugs but hard to paddle.

The flat water training went well. There were two scouts that thought the both were in charge.They went zigzag down the lake. I think it got worked out. All preparations were done and we have a float plan!!!.

This will be the last trip that some adults can take it easy. You See… All our Scouts currently are trained in Tenting, Packing, arriving and departing, and setup and cleanup and takedown. From this point forward the Senior Youth and a few adults will make sure nobody Dies.

Our newest Scouts are coming in slowly this spring. Ravens are Cub scouts that have less than 1 year in the Troop. We have a senior youth and adult mentor the group toward advancement. We first try to get them ready to go camping. Spring is a great time to join. Time to get clothing and equipment before deadly weather. Moisture management is key. Don’t get too wet or let the sweat build up wetting you just as bad. Clothing has to be worn appropriate to the temperature.

The quote “Cotton Kills” is bandied about and it takes a Home living, vehicle driving, sheltered individual a while to get straightened out. We are never in the elements of WX long during our normal live. Staying outside for any length of time requires the correct clothing. Hiking and camping are in the elements 24hrs a day. Tents and tarps provide some protection against rain. Cool and Cold and Warm and Hot are completely different animals.  A beautiful day with a strenuous hike and then cloud cover can completely change the possibilities of just surviving to the ability of having fun too.

With some camping trips the possibility of loss of life is minimal. Some hazards are known and avoided. WX related issues are forecast. The canoe trip has added issues. Cold water hypothermia, drowning, and overexertion and exhaustion are possible with just a little wind and cool WX. The trip can be extremely fun also. Warm air and breezes and sand an sunshine. Little or no wind  and great food with perfect supervision are the normal for the Bear island trip… Hallelujah .

We will train for the rest!

 

Wrecks

Wrecks

Vienna Fire Department is very blessed with excellent training and staff for responding to automobile accidents. Little district with big city call volumes in the 90’s and 2000’s. Vienna had a mutual aid agreements and eventually merged with Mt. Tabor VFD in the Early 90’s. Vienna was on its way to being a great Extrication resource for the Forsyth County area. Capt. and then Asst. Chief Dennis Reneau was relentless on training and equipping the “new squad”. Vienna was a pioneer in lighter and safer Rescue Equipment.

Holmatro equipment was purchased and the training began. I did not know the difference in the equipment until I started teaching the rescue section of FFI&II using both Rescue 721 and Lewisville’s Rescue 611. Lewisville has Hurst… IE The Jaws of Life tm. Vienna pursued the Holmatro brand and eventually also bought the same brand. Hundreds of students cycled through the rescue classes and Vienna benefitted by having multiple Instructors teaching but also all the classes were open to Vienna membership to come on extrication Saturday and practice and help guide students.Of course Rescue on the West side benefited from Instructors at Vienna, Old Richmond, Lewisville and Forbush. Putting those tools to work on cars, trucks,busses and farm equipment.

Experience is a fickle teaching tool. Great jobs and learning experiences are magnificent. Bad experiences and bad habits can produce good results. The Bad can be learned and used over and over until the time comes when something catastrophic occurs and someone is injured or killed. IE. Using tools without safety glasses. Glass may never get in your eye or a hydraulic hose may never burst but if YOU ALWAYS WEAR YOUR ISSUED SAFETY GLASSES you will be fine.

Vienna and Mt. Tabor combined to run over 1200 calls per year. This is more than twice as many as most volunteers and even staff can run. This is a learning experience in itself. Wrecks totaled about 10 percent of the calls. Pin-ins were a bi-weekly occurrence. Extrications come at all hours in all kinds of weather. For 10 years we went to wrecks all around the old MT. Tabor district and assisted in the Station 6 area. This was in addition to the Vienna area. Accidents included Motor Vehicle accidents, Light truck and trailer, Heavy trucks and Tractor Trailers. Industrial and Farm accidents did happen. Experience piled up and knowledge was distributed to all that would listen and practice

Multiple jurisdictions, past bad experiences, Unified Command and getting to know all the players helped make the incidents run much more smoothly. The Police, Sheriffs office, WS City Fire and FCEMS found a consistent command structure, Strong Command and clear direction as to roles and responsibilities. Often times Vienna responded,   extricated the patients , helped package the  patients, and packed up to leave before the Police got the road blocked. Good for all involved. The Rescue incident with high loss of life and critical injuries produced adrenaline junkies with all they could handle. These calls flowed so fast that control and direction of incoming units was difficult. The need to get the patients into surgery ramped DOWN in time from the Golden Hour to the Platinum 10. We tried to extricate in 10 have 10 to drive or fly and 10 to assess in ED… National extrication averages were 30-40 minutes. Pressure, Pressure, Pressure… More on that later

More History

More History

My Great Friend Chuck Harmon came by the garage today and we mused about issues, the world and as alway a little “Fixing the World”… I enjoy bouncing Ideas and Thoughts off of Chuck. While we had parallel growing up experiences we had different Mentors and paths to adulthood.We share similar views on Loving our Neighbors and Eternal Rest and Jesus Christ. We both value history as  a lesson for the future and also a teacher for today.

I am always pleased when I find an adult that has more stories and reflections than I do. Sitting around a campfire or in front of groups of folks it is good to be able to listen and reflect. I have so many stories and feel the need to share that others joke I have numbered them and just now need to shout out a # for the old camping buddies. I really have twice that are numbered. I have been holding out on everyone. This is for my Friend Steve Tucker… At least thats what they told me when I woke UP!!!

Writing and talking to Chuck gave me some time of Reflection. I also responded to assist a family with an elderly patient. I am young in at least my mind. My body is going to give it up way before the brain goes I HOPE. Any way I reflected on the Saints of our Church and life in the 1800 to current. I imagined being able to go anywhere except working at or near the house or farm. I thought of the simple pleasures of crawdad hunting, traipsing through the woods exploring and finding the neat cool mineral springs. What a great time of life…

I thought about the ladies of the church quietly raising the children and making meals. Just cooking and cleaning up took all day. The struggle to survive and make a better life for the children sometimes only had 40-50 years compared to our 70-80 year lifespan. Men worked sunup to sundown in brutal heat and cold. Farming was spotty and could be a bust each year. Well more as time permits