It is difficult to convey my experience as a probationary Beverly Hills Firefighter (commonly referred to as “Rookie”) without first describing the rigorous hiring process. The hiring process at Beverly Hills extended over a period of approximately 9 months, and included an aptitude test, several interviews, medical and psychological evaluations, as well as a thorough background investigation, which included a polygraph test.
I became a member of the Beverly Hills Fire Department in August of 2008, at the age of 47. I live in Culver City with my wife of 23 years, Lucia, and our 6 children: Caleb, Sarah, Leah, Joshua, Joseph and Gabriel. My first glorious year after probation was spent on the C shift as a firefighter on Engine 1, where I continued to learn and apply fundamental firefighting and EMT skills. At the end of that year, I transferred to the B shift and was appointed Shift Mechanic on Truck 4, which is my current position.
My days vary depending on what needs to be done. This is a general list of the responsibilities of the Truck 4- B shift Captain as related to the uniforms/PPE and the general responsibilities of a captain.
I started my career with BHFD on February 1, 1982 after attending both Rio Hondo and South Bay fire academies. This was my first and only department as a Firefighter.
With just over one year on the department, my knowledge and passion for rope rescue systems was noticed, and I was selected to attend the first “Heavy Rescue” course at Port Hueneme. This was to be the very start of our department’s “Technical Rescue (USAR)” program.
04:00 Wake up, Kiss the kids and wife goodbye and head out to work, 96 miles…. one way
06:00 Arrive at work ready to go, grab my bag out of my car and walk over to the station
06:05 Relieve the other firefighter on the engine, remove his turnouts and put mine on the rig, check my SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus) make sure it’s full, see if there is enough medical gloves and O2.
06:10 Go up stairs and sign in, check the “REDBOOK” see what on the schedule for the day…..Wild land training 0900… Hydrate!
Anytime I go to a dinner party, or get into a conversation in line at the grocery store the topic always comes up, “What’s it like to be a woman working in a fire station?” People are intrigued by women in predominantly male professions, especially one as physically and emotionally demanding as the occupation of a firefighter. Over the years I’ve noticed the line of questioning seems to have the same general theme, and that the public has common questions and curiosities about life as a woman firefighter. Here are the top five questions I usually get asked: