THE WIND-UP

A firefighters life

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A fire truck sits inside the Benton Township Fire Department Station

A fire truck sits inside the Benton Township Fire Department Station

Aidan Allers

Aidan Allers

A fire truck sits inside the Benton Township Fire Department Station

Aidan Allers, Staff Writer

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“Bitter sweet”

This is what firefighter Phil Grogan had to say about his job. The job is very stressful. This is why firefighters are able to rest while not on the job.

“It’s good because what we do is so stressful. And rest is necessary but also welcome,” Firefighter Grogan said. “ The bitter side is that it gets monotonous because you can’t leave because you’re on duty.”

Lieutenant Scott Allers thinks similarly. “Do to the fact that we are working a 24 hour shift, we take the opportunity to rest,” Lieutenant Allers said while signing the crew in on a Saturday morning. “You don’t know how long or when you’ll be busy on a call.”

Both Lieutenant Allers and Firefighter Grogan are on the B crew at Benton Township Fire Department Station 1.

Ryan White, a reserce Firefighter, works across the river in Royalton Township. Most of you know him as a math teacher at St. Joseph High School.

“Our’s is different because when I’m working there’s no relaxing because when you relax you get to go home.”

A reserve firefighter has typically a day job, but carries a pager around with them. When the reserves are needed the pager will go off. However Royalton Township works differently. The entirety of all it’s workers are volunteer reserve firefighters.

Though it’s complicated, Mr. White still enjoys it.

“It’s rewarding,” Mr. White said, during third hour.“It can be challenging because you don’t know, you can’t plan. A good number of calls can come when it’s after midnight and you’re in bed. Then you got to get out of bed at three in the morning for something that might be nothing. It might be a false alarm. But you still have to go because it’s the ones that you don’t go to that end up being a big deal.”

As for a normal day, Lieutenant Allers says that after the daily duties they plan their meals, “and maybe a couple calls. It’s been pretty steady this winter.”

If you think of a fire department, you think of firepoles and dalmations. “Fire Stations don’t have any poles. If it has one still, they can use it,” Firefighter Grogan said, while tinkering with his DJI Phantom Drone. “People were getting injured so they stopped.”

An example of injury happened years ago with Firefighter Gus Parsons. A fellow crew member said something along the lines of “Check out my new boots,” so Gus looked up the hole where the pole is. The other guy threw the boots down and they hit Gus in the face: this is why they don’t have poles.

“Dalmations are a tradition,” Firefighter Grogan said.“1969 was when we had our last dog, Clyde.”

Mr. White says he was recently asked if Royalton Township had a dalmatian. He responded saying, “No, there’s no one there to watch after it.”

“At least for kids, it’s cool for them to symbolize the fire station with that,” Lieutenant Allers said. “It gives us a good persona.”

Firefighter Michael Smetts says the original reason for the dalmation was to go ahead of the horses and get people out of the way. Before there were trucks, there was just horse drawn carriages with buckets of water. Today’s pump systems are much more efficient.

Overall, the Firefighters enjoy their jobs. Though it’s tough and stressful, it gives them satisfaction that they can help someone.

“How could you not like a job where you get paid to eat, sleep, and play videogames,” Lieutenant Allers said confidently. “And if we’re lucky, we get to fight a fire.”

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