TUCSON, Ariz. - When Tucson Firefighters are not on a call, chances are you'll find them training, familiarizing themselves with specific locations, and making plans for the best access in an emergency.
When they're not lifting the fire hoses they're lifting weights at the station for an allotted hour and a half each day. It can leave the firefighters famished. They have several refrigerators stocked with healthy food, which by the way, they purchase themselves. And it's cooked by those with culinary inclinations.
At night, firefighters can expect their sleep to be interrupted by calls an average of six times. And when they're up, it's all about speed.
Bunker boots and pants are on the truck ready to be pulled on before leaving the station. By the way, firefighters don't wear belt buckles because they'd become burning hot in a fire scene. But they do wear plenty of other gear that can wind up weighing about 70 pounds.
In a typical year, the Tucson Fire Department responds to 92-thousand calls. Only 8 percent will be fires. 92 percent will be medical emergencies.
It will take a team an average of 5 minutes 42 seconds to reach the scene. A typical response includes four firefighters on a truck and two paramedics in their vehicle. Everyone has a job.
One person may begin with CPR, while others standby to take over. Another to make sure the airway is clear. Plus, a runner for equipment.
Someone interviews a relative to get vital information, while another will get the meds, still another will administer them. Someone to insert an airway tube, and someone to monitor heart rate.
There is another way firefighters keep their finger on the pulse of the community.
By teaching, in this case, at Pueblo Gardens Elementary School. Where wide-eyed kindergartners learn not just fire safety, but that under those heavy suits firefighters are people just like them.
People who would not hesitate to risk their lives to save yours.