I didn’t mean to go through this fire class. When I came to school this semester, it was my plan to sit in a comfortable, dry classroom for a few hours a week in order to earn my EMT-Enhanced, and further my EMS education. But when my class schedule interfered with the EMT-E class, I couldn’t take it. My plan didn’t work. Just like my last plan for CRM software reviews, this was taking a technology South tour.
I like plans. They’re safe, they’re reassuring, and they’re familiar. You know what’s going to happen, and you can work to avoid obstacles. It’s tidy that way.
So when I find myself dressed in turn-out gear, hooking up a hose to a hydrant, I’m a little bit scared. This wasn’t part of my plan. I didn’t mean to stand in a muddy field in the pitch-black night, opening a hydrant in the below-freezing weather. I was supposed to sit in a nice, well-lit room. I was supposed to be taking notes and spending time in familiar emergency rooms.
But here, I’m completely new. I know nothing. I embarrass myself on a daily basis. “Oh…there’s two locks I have to release on this fitting? Good to know, since I’ve been trying for a minute to get it off the hydrant.” I get hose sizes confused with pipe sizes. I make mistakes.
But it’s kind of nice to make mistakes. Because each time I mess up, I learn. I make the mistake, I’m corrected, and (for the most part) I don’t do that again.
It’s kind of nice to be freezing my ass off in turn-out gear in a warehouse parking lot at night. It’s not the safe, comfortable classroom to be sure. But it’s the best kind of classroom. I’ll forever remember the first time I was doing a forward-lay and threw hose. I’ll always remember when I nearly killed myself trying to open a hydrant for the first time. Would I remember lectures? Would I be able to distinguish the lecture on airway apart from the lecture on IV access in my mind, years down the road? And would I remember my classmates’ names?
As I sit across from four of my classmates at Applebee’s, I smile to myself. This wasn’t part of the plan. But I like it.