Posts Tagged With: firefighter paramedic

~ Where’s Pokey, Dammit?! ~

My Captain spent the day, today, at a FEMA-required Urban Search and Rescue collapse rescue training…a sort of continuing education with his now decades-old participation with Maryland Task Force One.   Montgomery County, Maryland, had an old warehouse they were going to demolish, but beforehand, in an astounding stroke of wisdom, they stocked the building up with mock emergencies like crushed cars and dummy-victims.  THEN they demolished it, and set the collapse rescue techs of Maryland Task Force One on the rubble pile like a pack of dogs.

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Well, actually, they do have dogs….

Anyway, I felt for My Captain today.  He’s been doing this for so long, I know it is not as exciting as it must have been when he was first starting out, decades ago.  He’s been around the block a time or two, and while, yes, there is always a new way to try things, and, yes, there are always fresh ideas to consider, and while, yes, you can never be over-prepared….today was raining torrentially, he had just recently finished a 48 hour shift, and it must have…oh, what is the word that would best suit…. oh yes…it must have SUCKED.

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It had to.  Can you tell from this picture how hard it’s raining on the pile?  So yeah, it must have sucked.  Rain.  Rubble.  Trash and unhealthy dust and ….

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Oh, did I mention they were at it for 12 hours?  Poor guys.

He called once during lunch break, and I asked him to take a few pictures.  I’ve never been to that kind of training, and it’s such a big part of who he is….I wanted to share in it, if only vicariously.

In the past, he has taken pictures of the guys working, but he never sends pictures of himself.  So I asked him particularly to do so.  I want to see My Beloved, after all!  Sure, the other guys are wonderful, but I ain’t a-married to them!  I really wished to see him in his element.  He’s got more years and experience than most people in this field… and I never get to see him in it!

He demurred.  He doesn’t like to pose for pictures.

I begged.

He refused.  Said he was too busy to take the time.

I whined.

He declined.  Tried to change the subject.

I threatened.

He capitulated.

( I’m scary like that. )

But Dang It!  I want to see my husband’s beautiful mug!  I was so glad he relented.

And this is what the turkey sent me.

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Passive Aggressive Son Of A Biscuit.

It’s probably not even him.

As heroic as My Captain is, I have a hard time appreciating the manliness of what he does when he looks like Gumby….

Categories: Fire and Rescue, Urban Search and Rescue | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

~ Search and Rescue ~

During Maryland Task Force One’s deployment to Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey, several of the team were injured, among them My Captain.

Don’t worry, he’ll live to rescue another day.

But unfortunately, another task force team member who was injured more seriously, has a long road of recovery ahead of him.

His name is Fonzie.

Fonzie and his handler, Victoria, had a harrowing ride during the week of the storm.

Fonzie’s paw got stuck under a metal door, and he cut the tendon and flesh of one of his toes.  He bled all over the place, and it looks like he will lose his toe.

This is a big deal.  Fonzie is not just a ‘dog.’

He’s a true search and rescuer, with extensive training (to the tune of about $15,000!).  He relies on his paws…and all the toes therein…to climb through rubble piles where humans could not.

Like Pierce here (with his handler, and all around great guy, Mike).  A dog’s toes are of the utmost importance when they are in search mode.

Except here.  Here he doesn’t need his toes so much.

Fonzie’s primary job is to sniff out live victims.  When he smells the scent of life, he knows to start barking like there is no tomorrow and NOT stop until someone comes.

….yes, just like Lassie.

Victoria has been with Fonzie since he graduated search and rescue training.  He goes with her wherever she goes.

They are with each other 24/7.  He’s not a pet.  He’s not a co-worker.  He’s part of her life!

Victoria is a firefighter, an EMT, Fonzie’s handler,

a mommy,

and a wonderful wife (to hunk of a husband and Frederick Police Chief, Tom). But what amazes me (as if all of that is not enough…) is that throughout ALL of this, she maintains her true femininity (unlike your dear writer).

I’m serious.  I look at her face and I think, ‘Va Va Voom!’.  She’s got the classic female lines…fantastic eyes…kick ass smile…exudes confidence and strength.

I want to be her.  Somebody make that happen for God’s sake.

Back to the deployment to New York and New Jersey a couple of weeks ago…. Victoria says that while Fonzie did not have any saves this deployment, per se, he did absolutely make a difference.  How?  Apparently the victims would see Fonzie and get down on their knees and just bury their faces into his neck, sobbing with grief.  And Fonzie comforted as only a dog can.  She said Fonzie was the biggest balm I could possibly imagine.

I had never considered that.  But it certainly makes sense, doesn’t it?

To be a handler of a true Search and Rescue Canine requires an unbelievable amount of commitment and training.  Victoria’s life is so damn full, I wondered why she does it.

And then it struck me…  She does it for two reasons.  1) Because she has the very selfless heart of a hero, and 2.)


Categories: Fire and Rescue, Urban Search and Rescue | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

~ Is Something Burning? ~

We were at our new friend’s house tonight.  They had bought a wonderful hundred-year-old farm-house on a few acres, complete with a big red barn worthy of any children’s book.  (Go find The Big Red Barn if you have never read it.  Then come back to this post and go “AH!”)

It was a cool, crisp, clear night…one that was supposed to be full of shooting stars due to a rare meteor shower.   All of us had lifted our eyes to the stars, sipping Hot Cider that Jackie and Dave had ever-so-kindly warmed for us in a Dutch Oven over the bonfire.  The dogs were out running around the barnyard with Critter and Jeremy and Jesse.  Varmint and her friend Julia cuddled near and were, like us, searching the night sky.

The crickets chirped and sang.

Wood smoke wafted through the air.

And then…

“AUGH!!!”  Varmint rocked back too far in her campchair trying to better see the sky, and fell (as my Dad would say) ‘ass-over-teakettle’.  All we could see were her feet flailing wildly in the air as we gasped and laughed.

And then…


In her descent, Varmint’s chair had caught the camp table behind her…… the table that held the hot dogs and condiments and cider.  And it was all slowly dumping on top of her!

My Captain rushed over to help her.  Jackie and David rushed over to help her.  Even the dogs rushed over to….well, I think they were in truth looking for the fallen hot dogs….but me, I sat where I had been, laughing so loudly and forcefully, it caused my rump to sing.  (That’s polite-talk for ‘fart’.)

Which made me laugh harder. … because I’m immature and love potty-humor.

Don’t judge.

They got her up, brushed her off, and got all the furniture set to rights.  Varmint was, as always, a good sport and I was very proud of her behavior!

But something didn’t smell right.

At first, of course, I figured it was me.  I mean, I was the one who had just had the singing-butt.

But the smell didn’t dissipate.

In fact, the fart stench started to smell like a burnt fart stench.

I glanced down at the fire.  There, in the middle of the blaze, was one of Dave’s fireproof gloves.  It had evidently gotten tossed into the fire in the fray and frenzy of Varmint’s upending.

And, er, it turns out that, well……

They ain’t so fireproof.

They had burned.  Everyone started saying things like, “I WONDERED what that smell was!”  and I was relieved no one actually pointed at me.

Now, what I want to know is this: What in tarnation is in those fire-RETARDANT (because fire-proof they surely are not,) gloves to make them smell like the fart of a middle-aged soccer mom?  Or, conversely, what is in my rectum that makes my fluffies smell like burning fire-retardant-treated leather?

Someone figure it out and get back to me, please.

Thank you.

Categories: Fire and Rescue, Urban Search and Rescue | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

~ A Beefy Guy Named ‘Cupcake’ ~

When I was studying to become a Paramedic, one of my preceptors name was ‘Cupcake’.  Actually, it’s his nickname, but no one uses his birth name.  And, in fact, Cupcake is most often called ‘Cuppy’ by those who know and love him well. He’s got a nickname for his nickname.  Don’t see that too often, do ya?

Sometimes people will ask why we call him this ridiculous name.  I’ll get to that in a moment.

Understand, Cuppy is a BIG guy.  In all ways.  Strapping. Strong. and oddly, Cherubic.  I don’t know how those all mesh together, but he makes it work.

Cuppy has a fantastic sense of humor.  No prank is too big or too small for him.  And he’s no dummy, either.  Graduated from George Washington University.  Is a member of Maryland Task Force One’s Urban Search & Rescue Team.  Teaches Paramedicine.  Teaches Scuba.  Teaches Sailing.  Loves motorcycles.  Loves his Whiskey, and an occasional cigar…but only if he’s been at his whiskey.   Has a laugh and a smile that is more infectious than half the diseases we transport in the Medic units.  (ew.)

So here’s the story:  He was fresh out of the Fire Academy’s Training class…about to embark on his Rookie year at Germantown Fire Station 29.  Knowing it is customary for a Rookie to bring good eats for the whole shift his first day, he stopped by the station to ask them what would be a good food item to bring.  It happened to be a different shift than the one he was joining.  With a smile, a seasoned, leather-skinned, wise-ass Lt. suggested he bring…. cupcakes.

So, in he waltzed on day one, and made his first impression to his manly-man co-workers…. the men and women with whom he would be fighting fires side-by-side….the men and women who would be counting on his manly man-ness to have their backs…the men and women who were currently in a shift-wide weight loss challenge…. with three boxes of cupcakes.  You could have heard a pin drop.  Mouths went agape.  Eyebrows raised. Finally, one of his new shiftmates, in no uncertain terms, let him know, “BOY!  You can’t bring cupcakes to a fire station on your first day!  You gotsta bring Meat!  Preferably Red!  What kind of fool idea is this? Where did you get this hairbrained idea?” (I’m paraphrasing…)  He sheepishly admitted that the other shift suggested it….which explained everything.

And thus Cupcake was introduced to his new fire fighter family as the Dupe to another Shift’s “gotcha”.

And his new name was born.

And he’ll never live it down.

On a more serious note, Cupcake’s real name is actually Chris, and he was always more kind to me, more patient with me, and more understanding with me than anyone else in all the stations I have ever ridden.  I’ll never forget him.

Or the time he tied my bootstring to a patient’s cot when I wasn’t looking.



Categories: Fire and Rescue | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

~ O Captain, My Captain: A Picture Story ~

See this guy?

He one of the seasoned Captains within Montgomery County Fire and Rescue. He is also a seasoned rescue technician with Maryland Task Force 1’s Urban Search & Rescue Team. With the rest of the hardened, heroic MD-TF1 team, he searched and worked the rubble pile at the Oklahoma City Bombing. The Pentagon on 9/11. Hurricane Katrina. And many others. He’s a Paramedic. He’s a Station Commander. He’s a teacher, a leader, a husband, and a father, but first and foremost, a Firefighter.  Meet Captain/Firefighter/Paramedic Troy Lipp.

See this guy?

This is the same Captain, in the great wilds of Glacier, Montana.  Here he is using one of his newest tools: an ultraviolet light water purifier.  He’s always happy when he has a new gadget.  Rescue Techs are like that.

See this guy?

It’s the same guy, same place, but with neato-cool focus on the glacial melt water of McDonald Creek. He’s humored at the photographer’s artsy-fartsiness.

See this guy?

Here is the Captain on the top of Mount Apgar trying to catch a view of a hawk or pterodactyl or something.  I was too distracted by his muscular back and arms to notice.  It was a very steep, gruelling hike up a jagged mountain.  I think I threw up halfway up.  He carried me the rest of the way, jogging.

See this guy?

This is the same Captain, about to get on a horse named “Shrek”.  I found that hiLARious. He found my hilarity hilarious.

Same Captain, with favorite beverage in hand after breaking the wild and tempestuous Shrek.  It was touch and go for a while.

See this guy?

This is the Captain quietly and patiently waiting for his bride to meet him on the mountain to say vows of love.  True story: just before the vows were exchanged he whipped out his Pocket Knife and picked a piece of parsley out of her teeth with it.  Rescue techs are like that.

See this guy?

This is what he looks like happy and loved.

See this?
This is a Moose.

Post Script Note:   This post will most likely be used to tease, cajole, harass, embarrass, and most likely torque the Captain by his Shift.  Life is hard sometimes, you have to be tough.

Categories: Family, Fire and Rescue, Urban Search and Rescue | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

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