THE BIG QUESTION!
I pay taxes. What do my firefighters do when something is not on fire?
I can certainly assure you the days of old are gone. Firefighters no longer sit around the table and play poker while they wait for some car, some building, or some anything to catch on fire. Although putting out fires is what comes to mind when someone see’s a shiny red truck cruise down the road lit up like Christmas, it is actually a small percentage of what goes on in today’s fire service. I have often been in line at a store behind an unsuspecting customer while they discuss how they saw those “lazy firefighters” buying chips. What they don’t see is that more often than not those same chips end up leaving a trail towards the trucks, and away from a table with a half eaten sandwich and a spilled glass of water.
CDAFD prides itself on being a progressive department. What that means to our customers is that we are constantly focusing on how to make our selves, and our services better for the people we come into contact with. With our call volume reaching just over seven thousand three hundred calls last year, there is a multitude of things we need to be prepared for. CDAFD offers medical interventions as well as transport. With all CDA fire personnel being cross trained as both a firefighter and EMT basic, advanced, or paramedic, we have much to offer you in your medical or traumatic needs. (Another reason to see our “Why Trucks Respond” tab.) In order to provide all of this great service, CDAFD firefighters must constantly train, not only to be proficient at these skills, but also to keep up with any new techniques or technology that will allow us to serve our customers better. We are a progressive department remember. That can’t take up all of our time though…can it?
CDA fire has many other services to offer as well. Along with being firefighters, EMT’s, and genuinely good guys, some of our members are also part of the Disaster Dogs. A program that trains dogs to help find downed victims. Many of our members are part of our regions Haz-Mat team, which responds to any hazardous materials problems state wide. And further still, some of your CDA firefighters are part of the Tech Rescue team which specializes in high and low angle rescue, trench rescue, and confined space rescue. “Not enough,” you say? Well how about our members who are part of our Honor Guard, who train monthly to provide a highly professional service of presenting our nations great colors.
CDA Fire Department is very active in our wonderful community as well. Public education is a big part of what we do. After all, knowledge is power. At some point or another I hope your children come home from school and excitedly tell you about the firefighters who came into their classroom and let them play with their gear, and teach them what to do if a fire ever did occur in their homes. Better yet, maybe you will have the pleasure of attending one of the many fire station tours we do monthly. Although we are constantly progressing, we still firmly believe in the old adage that “our house is your house.” After all, you did pay for it. It is not just the children of our great city we help either. CDA fire is also involved in the senior center of Coeur d’Alene. Giving fire safety demonstrations, helping an elderly woman change her smoke detector batteries, and treating your grandparents as if they were our own are all activities that we spend our time on when something is not on fire. What if a small fire occurs in the commercial setting where you work? Besides calling 9-1-1 is there anything else you can do? Yes there is. CDA fire is also very active in giving fire extinguisher demonstrations. We have all seen them hanging on the wall, but how many of us have actually used one? Call CDA fire and we will gladly come to your location and give employees a hands on demonstration of what to do should you ever have to use a fire extinguisher.
So you drive by one of our three stations and happen to notice that there are no fire trucks there. You think to yourself, “it’s such a nice day, they can’t be on a call right now?” Well if that were the rare occasion, you certainly wouldn’t have to look far to find us. There is a good chance that we are out checking blood pressures at one of the cities health fairs, or helping in one of our many local events such as Ironman. We also put on an open house that is usually in the beginning of October, so please come join us. Or perhaps one of the engines is the center piece to one of Coeur d’Alene’s many parades. We could even be hosting our Santa Photos and Food Drive where you can come in and donate canned goods while getting your picture taken with Santa. All this is well and good you say, but last summer you saw those “lazy firefighters” out working on their tans and looking for the other half of their shoes. Actually, what you saw is firefighters participating in our annual MDA Fill the Boot fundraiser. Every year CDA firefighters collect money to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
As our customers are also taxpayers, and therefore our funding for all of these services, we must show that we appreciate what you do for us. If your firefighters are not training on specialized equipment, there is a good chance that they are cleaning it. Fire trucks and ambulances are washed daily. Not only to make sure that the firefighters know their equipment intimately, but to show our customers that we are thankful for the big purchases they have made for us. If you ever have the desire of granting us the pleasure of a visit, you will find a firehouse that is often times cleaner than the house of the firefighters who are staying there.
Anytime you stop by or we have the pleasure of meeting you on a scene, you can be sure you will be given the highest quality service. No matter what kind of emergency you are having we will be ready for it. Because while we could have been playing poker, we were preparing to serve you with the honor, tradition, integrity you have come to expect from your CDA firefighters.