Fire Drill

Last Sunday, July 13, I got up late, about 10:00 a.m. and was getting ready for my day, when I heard voices outside saying things like, “We’ll need more hose,” and “We’ll have to allow for going around this corner.”

I’m on the third floor of an apartment building, so I couldn’t immediately see who was wandering about. Looked out my window, and FIREMEN are hauling hose to the back building. I was mildly alarmed, until it registered that no sirens were wailing, and the firemen weren’t particularly concerned. So no fire. Whew! What was happening, then?

A lady was walking down the driveway to the back building where she lives, and I heard a fireman tell her, “That’s why we’re here, to protect you guys.”

I strolled to the front of the building where the fire engine was parked. Two firemen were on top, stacking fire hose, and the supervisor was at ground level, pulling on the hose to retrieve it from the full length of the driveway that runs alongside the building. (The building is a city block long – obviously built before they realized it would be hard to fight a fire from the sidewalk a block away, with no rear accessibility.)

The supervisor hastened to assure me that nothing was wrong, and I asked what they were doing. He explained that they run drills almost daily in different parts of the city, to see what they would be up against in various situations. That’s smart. You never know what you’ll run into, in L.A.

I said, “So how did you do?” He replied, “Four hundred seventy feet in four minutes.” Over 400 feet of hose to the back building in 4 minutes! That sounded good to me, and I told him so. He said, “Yeah, this is a difficult one, it’s so far away. We usually only run about 270 feet.” No wonder those people are in good shape. Those hoses are heavy!

And it made me think of what’s involved in fighting a fire. I mean, you know firefighters are heroes – very special people – and since it’s fire season in Los Angeles, fires are on the news a lot. But it just brought home to me how grateful we all should be for the men and women who face danger every day, to keep the rest of us safe. They have drills on Sunday morning while many of us are relaxing (or sleeping off hangovers).

To firefighters and police officers and everybody else with a dangerous job,


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