Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What REALLY happens..

So, I have a little bit of time before I need to get ready for duty tonight. I wanted to write about something that I learned this week that quite honestly shocked me.

As you know, our cat Higgins died a week ago today. He was sick with Feline FIP and his kidneys were failing. The time had come that night to make the difficult decision to have him put to sleep. He went peacefully in Kathleens arms as Dr. Plant gave him the injections she needed too. Very sad, but needed to be done.

This scenario plays itself out hundreds if not thousands of times a day in the country. For most people, a pet is literally a part of the family, and is treated that way. With love, care and respect. Especially when they die.

What I am saying here is a fact, Ive seen the evidence, video supporting all of this. If your animal died, and you left the care of the body to the vet, there is a 98% chance that the company the vet uses, either did a mass cremation of your animal, or the body was brokered out to a processing plant used for proteins, pet food, medical supplies, healthcare or beauty products or fertilizer. .

Maybe you opted to have the remains cremated and have them returned to you. You have two options here from your vet. The Mass Cremation where a large number of animals are all cremated at the same time.. what you get back is not your pet. You get back a mixture of whatever happened to be cremated together. Plenty of evidence out there that most of the time, you dont even get back any of your pet, its most likely from a process done before or after your animal was ever cremated.

Then you have the option of "private cremation" which is supposed to mean that your animal is the only one being cremated at one time. The companies that do this, cremate somewhere around Five to Six hundred animals daily. It has been proven over and over, that even if you choose this option, you will rarely, if ever get your actual pets remains.

These "disposal" companies are huge and have contracts with your vet. Does your vet know what actually happens? Maybe, or maybe not. The companies make most of their money from the contracts with the vet. I saw some video of animals being removed from a hospital in trash bags, literally thrown into the back of a truck and shipped off to a processing plant. These were someone's cherished pets, their family member.

What did we do with Higgins? Well, Kathleen for whatever reason decided she wanted to take care of getting Higgins cremated. We told the vet we would be handling Higgins arrangments. She originally contacted Pet Memorial Services outside of Philly. This is a gigantic company and is contracted with most of the vets in our area. She didnt get a good feeling.

She then contacted Companion Animal Cremation Services in Mechanicsburg, PA. She talked to John on Wednesday night from this company. If you call them, they will call you back in 15 minutes. Im not writing an ad for them, but let me tell you something, these guys are doing the RIGHT thing. He said, we could bring Higgins up whenever we wanted, Thanksgiving, whenever. We could watch the whole process from beginning to end if we chose to do that to ensure we were getting only Higgins back. He also stated, that they video tape the process with your pet, for proof purposes in case a question ever arises that you got your pet back.

We went and picked up Higgins body from the Vet on a rainy, dreary Monday morning and made the trip to PA with his body. We arrived at the building, inside was very comfrotable and we met John. He explained what would happen and we could see as little or as much as we wanted. All up to us.

As Higgins was being cremated, we had the pleasure of meeting Rob who owns the business. We sat down and talked for a bit, even got to hang out with one of his pet Skunks who fell asleep on my lap. We got on the subject of the industry he was in and he was ready to talk about everything I talked about above.

Im just about out of time here, but in closing let me say this. If you want to show your pet the love they showed you after they die. YOU take care of the remains, dont leave it up to some giant disposal company to make your animal into pet food or fertilizer. This isnt BS. This is happening every single day. Dont believe me? Check this out.

To the Company's that do this and to any Vets that know about it.. you are the absolute scum of the earth to take advantage of people like this and I hope you get what's coming to you. And I have a sneaking suspicion.. you will. Assholes.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Mayday Firefighter down video

I finally finished the video from the Rescue drill we did last week. Kinda gives you an idea how chaotic it can be during an emergency, even more so when you cant see anything. At the beginning of the video right around the 30 second mark you can hear the FF call a "Mayday Firefighter Down" the rest of the video shows what happened trying to rescue several victims. Thanks to Ali Gillingham and Marc Forrester for taking the video. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bye Higgins

Its always hard to put down a pet. We had to have our cat Higgins put to sleep tonight. He was getting sicker and it was his time. We will all miss you buddy. You were a great companion and friend. Special Thanks to Dr. Plant and Shelby from Old Mill Veterinary hospital who tried to make it as easy as it could be. :(


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Some things just deserve to happen..

Trying to make your car look cool with plastic spinner wheels and a good paint job: $70

Laughing really hard with all your buddies as you cut everyone off making a U turn in an intersection while talking on your cell phone: $0

Watching you and your buddies as you drive into the guardrail and scrape up the entire side of your car: Priceless... and absolutely hilarious.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Firefighter Down

With another week coming to a close, I dont have a whole lot to write about. I had duty on Saturday night which ended up being a fairly busy night. The night started out with us putting our old E-ONE Ladder truck back in service which entails moving all the equipment from our loaner ladder truck over to the E-ONE. The new tiller truck is in the station and just about ready to go into service. It took over an hour to move all the equipment over and make sure everything was working. Once we got all that finished up, we headed over to Station 1 to move some ladders around and replace some equipment for the ladder truck. After a quick stop by Station 20 it was off to dinner at Moe's. Shortly after dinner the tones dropped for a house fire in Ashburn calling for Truck 1 on the initial dispatch. This was the ladder trucks first run after being out of service for almost 6 months. So, we thought it would be great if her first call back on the road was a working fire. I think we made it to about Belmont Ridge before we were placed in service. I think it ended up being a malfunctioning furnance or something along those lines.

Second call of the night was another box alarm for an inside gas leak in Leesburg. Residents left a stove burner on and the house filled up with gas. 2 engines and the Truck from Leesburg responded along with Hamilton's Wagon 5 which was staffed by Leesburg members while CO 5 was enjoying their year end banquet. A few fans to the door, opened some windows, disaster averted.

Tuesday night we had a great drill down at Station 1. It was basically a Mayday drill, where we had a simulated fire ( smoke machines ) where a firefighter was down or missing and we needed to locate the downed FF and remove them from the burning building, along with any other vicitims. Myself, D-Rob and Gilly were riding the officers seat on the 3 pieces of apparatus involved. I was on the ladder truck, as soon as we got in the front door we heard the call for a mayday. We were just crawling past a hallway and heard the PASS alarm going off on the downed Firefighter. We made our way back there and found 1 FF buried under several mattress's and wooden beams simulating a roof collapse. It was smoked up pretty good back there so it was hard to see. While my crew was attempting remove the downed FF, the engine crew already had the fire knocked down in the kitchen, while the second engine crew led by Commander D-Rob along with Steph and a few others were completing searches and made another rescue I believe (must be nice to have a victim just laying out in the open.. not entangled in a bunch of wooden beams and mattresses). Anway, all the victims were found and rescued and nobody got hurt. Overall, a great drill and another great learning experience for everyone. Hats off to the probies on my truck crew who also did an outstanding job helping with removing the downed FF.

Im putting together a short video on it so I will get that posted in the next few days.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Chimney Fires, Running and a few more (or less) Deer.

Not a whole bunch to report this week. A few chimney fires in Leesburg over the last few days. Make sure you get your's checked out and cleaned regularly, especially if you use it alot. You get creosote and soot build up in there and when it heats up enough can catch on fire in the chimney.

Ashburn ( Co 6 and 23 ) also had 2 working fires this week in apartments in the area. I didn't go to either of those but they didn't sound too bad. One on a porch and the other inside a wood column I believe. A few more cars met there demise due to deer including a serious wreck in Hamilton ( Co 5 ) where the driver had to be flown out.

I ran on the W&OD bike trail almost every day this week. Monday I ran over 6 miles on the trail, it was actually a pretty nice day out and I didn't see very many others on the trail. Except for a random truck that was driving down the trail and scared the crap out of me. I usually start out right at the Liberty Street parking lot and head towards Purcellville. Maybe someday I will make it all the way to Purcellville. I'm sure I wont be running that whole way though. One of the guys from dept is an avid runner who has been giving me plenty of pointers about running in general and running on the trail. Hopefully I can keep it up even though its getting much colder out now. I did buy some Under Armour cold gear that seems to be working pretty well so far.

Went to Bunker's Sports Cafe here in Leesburg last night for Dollar beer night and to spend some time with some friends there. I don't know why I keep going there. Depending on who you get, the service is terrible. Luckily we know a few of the servers in there and when we get them its great. If not, its usually a good 15 minutes before anyone even comes over to take your order. Don't even get me started on trying to eat lunch there. The amount of cigarette smoke in there last night was unreal. Everyone commented on it. I have been in working house fires with less smoke than that place. You come out smelling like you were in the smoking lounge at an airport. So what the air cleaners hanging from the ceiling do I'm not really sure, because they sure don't take any of the smoke out of there. I remember last year we ran a call there to assist to PD with access to the roof because they thought someone had broken into the place. I was up on the roof with an LPD officer and when I opened the roof access hatch, the amount of built up cigarette smoke that came out was unreal. So, I think just for the sake of my own health, I might be done with that place.

That's about all for this entry. Working the next three days then duty on Sat night. Have a safe weekend.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Oh Double Deer..

I like to call this one " How not to put your gear on" :)

With Duty Crew 7 up to bat last night we had a busy night planned with some errands to run on duty. We all went and got our flu shots that were provided to us by the county. That was my first time getting a flu shot. Hey, I will just come right out and say it. I hate needles with a passion. I can stick someone with a needle, no problem. But if you stick me with one, there is a good chance I will probably pass out. I guess its just something about a metal foreign object puncturing my skin and being inside my body. Luckily for me and everyone else, I didn't pass out when I got mine. But I will say my muscles are a little bit sore today for some reason. After flu shots, it was off to Station 1 to fill up some air cylinders that needed to be topped off. That ended up taking the better part of an hour.

Before all this, the bells rang for an auto accident. That's my second auto accident call in as many days. However, these last two accidents were both caused by deer. In the first case Wednesday after the parade, the driver swerved to miss the deer, causing his SUV to end up on its roof. Last night, some crazy ass deer, who must have seriously been sprinting, T-boned this poor lady who was just trying to get home from work. We arrived on the scene and saw where the drivers side door had a good amount of damage. I thought we might have to pop open the door, ( which Stephanie was determined she was going to do) but it opened up with no problems. So apparently, this deer just ran across the road, right into the door of the car. Doesn't look like she could have tried to miss it if she wanted to. The deer? Well, I will just say it was not in one piece after its run in with a moving vehicle. One of the great things about having a rookie on your shift, is that they get to do all the work nobody else wants to do. In this case, Ol' Trimpey was tasked with moving the carcass off the road. Which he did without a complaint.

So a little dinner a few other chores around the station and that was it for the night. I'm at the beginning of my 12 hour shift here at work. There's some party here today celebrating something or other, so at least I get a free lunch today.

So, watch out for deer out there. They are all over the place and will seriously do some damage to your car. Whether your in an SUV or Passenger car, wear your seat belt because you never know. Have a safe weekend.


P.S. It was up there somewhere last night Hilton, sounded like it was in the tiles in Bunkroom 3 above Stephs bed.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Parades, Car Crashes and Cowboys

Well, It has been a pretty busy week filled with car accidents, parades, power outages and a Halloween party.

Friday night went to a Halloween party with some friends. Everyone had a great time. I went as a Monk, there were Nuns, 2 Doctors, Cowboys and Indians along with various other costumes.

Ran duty on Sat night and ran a few calls. A few fire alarms, one at the airport that involved using a special key we have that will open any door... its called an axe and a halligan bar. hehe. Ran a car acccident on the Greenway with a car that rolled over, luckily nobody got hurt on that one. Although, the dog that was inside the car didn't seem to thrilled about going along for that ride. We did manage to get the dog out of the car without incident. I believe the last call of the night was at the county work release jail where a light fixture decided to short out and melt causing a bit of smoke etc. A ladder and screwdriver averted that disaster without any problems.

Monday night, to make a long story short. Guy runs red light, causes people to slam on brakes, Steph has no car now. Sorry crash Jr.

Sometime Tuesday morning there was a hazmat incident in Sterling involving some nitric acid off gassing in a barrel inside a building. That required a full hazmat response that brought units from all over the county, including the Airport and Fairfax county. Our engine ended up in Ashburn filling the station there since all of their units where tied up at the hazmat incident. Myself, along with AJ and Glenn staffed an engine out of station 1 to make sure Leesburg still had coverage in case there were any more calls. Sure enough, somewhere over on the west end of town, there was some kind of power outage, and when it came back on resulted in a power surge. The first call we went to for that was a house that had smoke coming from the fridge after the power came back on. The resident said they heard a pop when the power came back on. AJ and I went into the house and there wad a decent amount of smoke inside. AJ went to secure the power to the fridge and I pulled it away from the wall so I could open up the back and see what was burning. As soon as I pulled the back off you could see where the power supply was black and melted from the power surge. Further investigation in the house revealed that all the surge protectors in the house had also been fried. Each outlet that had something plugged into it, was blackened and you could smell it was fried. The ladder truck ran a few of the same calls while we were on that one. AJ checked the attic just to make sure nothing was burning up there and we cleared the scene. Ran a few other calls and that was it for the day.

Had the Halloween parade last night in Leesburg. I was originally was supposed to be in the parade on the wagon but we ended up running a few calls instead. But the rest of our apparatus made it into the parade and looked great from what I could see. Ran another rollover wreck last night out on the other side of town. Another lucky one where the driver wasn't injured but the car was on its roof. Had to break out the drivers side window to gain access to the keys so I could shut the ignition off and secure power to the car. Unlucky day for that guy since the car still had dealer tags on it and appeared to be totaled.

Got duty tonight after work. Hopefully a quiet night.