'Day in the Life' of two Brainerd firefighters
7:50 a.m. ● Brainerd Fire Department full-time equipment operators Capt. Kurt Doree and Engineer Lance Davis arrive at the fire hall located on 23 Laurel St., Brainerd, for their 24-hour shift. The first thing they do is exchange information with the previous shift on what the firefighters did on their shift and what needs to be done. After the exchange they both grab their trauma bag and clean them out and take out their old gear and replace it with their new gear. The fire department received a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant for $35,800 for 19 sets of gear; the fire department paid 10 percent. The firefighters will use their old gear as back-up gear or it will be used by firefighters with less seniority.
Doree and Davis then checked the medical bag to make sure there are enough medical supplies in it.
9:30 a.m. ● Doree and Davis load up Ladder 2 and run a few errands. They first go to North Memorial Ambulance to pick up some medical supplies and then to the North Memorial Ambulance Service shop to pick up first responder books that are used for medical calls where firefighters write down the basic information about the call, such as name, address and nature of call. Then the firefighters went to CarQuest Auto Parts to pick up wiper blades for Ladder 2.
10:30 a.m. ● Back at station and still no calls, so Doree and Davis begin working on the trucks. They notice the oil in Ladder 2 spilled; check the oil; and notice that it needs immediate attention and they’ll have to buy a new part to fix it.
In the meantime, they check all the equipment on the trucks, checking the fluids and water pumps. Doree said the trucks must be checked weekly to make sure everything is working correctly.
10:40 a.m. ● While working on the truck, a car with a flat drives up and the driver asks Doree if he can fill it up with air. Doree tells him to drive to the back of the station. Citizen drives up, Doree fills the tire with air and the citizen thanks him and then goes on his way. Doree walks back to the fire truck he was working on.
10:53 a.m. ● Firefighters talk with Brainerd Fire Chief Kevin Stunek about the part to fix the oil on the truck and they run to Napa to purchase an “O” ring gasket on the oil fill cap.
11:40 a.m. ● They grab lunch and go back to the station and eat and fix the oil on the truck.
1:09 p.m. ● First call of the 24-hour shift. It is a car fire along Crow Wing County Road 3 near the Timbermist. Firefighters put on their gear and get into Engine 4 to head to scene. When they get closer to the scene, they look for smoke, but see none. Once on scene, Doree heads to the unoccupied vehicle and tries to open the hood, while Davis mans the truck. A man walks up to the vehicle and informs Doree that he extinguished the fire in the vehicle and that he burned his wrist. They clear the scene at 1:27 p.m.
1:50 p.m. ● Back at fire station, packing up gear and cleaning up after call.
2:19 p.m. ● Firefighters are paged to a two-vehicle crash with possible injuries at the intersection of Charles Street and Northwest Fourth Street. Doree and Davis take Ladder 2 to the scene which is just over the Mississippi River and a block away. Upon arrival, Doree jumps out of the truck and hops in the back set of the car where a Brainerd woman in the passenger seat is injured. He offers first responder assistance to the woman and when North Memorial Ambulance arrive, just minutes later, Doree assists them. The woman is taken by ambulance to the hospital for minor injuries. Doree and Davis then clear the scene at 2:40 p.m.
Doree and Davis have a system down when they work a fire shift. The firefighter, who drives the fire truck, mans the truck at the scene. This firefighter is in charge of all the truck equipment that is needed on scene, such as manning the water pumps and retrieving tools. The firefighter, who is the passenger, is in charge of the firefighting skills needed on the scene, such as running the hoses to extinguish the fire of a car fire or house fire. The firefighter, who is the passenger, also is the one who goes solo on the lower priority calls, such as a carbon monoxide check. The firefighter also is in charge of the scene and in charge of making dinner. Doree and Davis alternate each shift.
3 p.m. ● Doree and Davis head to the gas station to fuel up the truck before they head back at the station. Later Doree takes Engine 1 to the gas station to fill it up with fuel, while Davis records the gages on the truck that monitors the hours used on the water pumps and compressor control.
4:40 p.m. ● They wrap up cleaning the trucks and checking on other equipment at the station. Doree’s family stops in for a visit.
4:50 p.m. ● They help Stunek load up the new 800 Mhz radios in his truck the chief plans to deliver to Nisswa Fire Department.
5:27 p.m. ● Davis’ family stops in for a visit.
5:30 p.m. ● Doree takes a new piercing hose attachment to the back of the station where there is an old van to practice using the new attachment. Doree said the hose attachment is useful when they’re at a vehicle fire and they can’t open the hood, which is common. The attachment is forced into the front of the vehicle under the hood and once in place, the firefighter disperses the water, which extinguishes the fire. Doree said the attachment also is useful for manufacturing homes and airplane crashes.
6:30 p.m. ● The firefighters sit down and eat pizza for dinner with Davis’ family. For the next few hours, the firefighters relax and answer a few non-emergency calls, which includs a hang-up.
8:35 p.m. ● Davis notices the carbon monoxide detector’s light is off. Doree checks it for the next hour to make sure it is OK. It is determined the detector is not working properly.
10:05 p.m. ● Brainerd Dispatch staff writer ends her shift of following the two firefighters.
Next 10 hours ● Firefighters sleep and take one call around 3 a.m. of someone asking about a skunk smell at their home. The firefighters offer ideas for the caller, but do not respond.