Murrieta firefighters are ready at a moment's notice for any emergency situation they may encounter.
They arrive at their assigned station—one of five in the city—around 7 a.m. for shift change. It's the beginning of a 48-hour shift, according to Capt. Eric Ballard, Murrieta Fire Station No. 1.
Each morning, fire crews check everything on the fire truck to ensure all is in working order. They make sure they are stocked up on medical and other supplies they'll need to perform their duties. Crews have to be complete with checking everything on the truck by about 7:45 a.m.
At 8 a.m., all stations have their morning conference call and briefing.
Then they clean house. Cleaning the fire station is much the same as cleaning a home. Firefighters clean their bathrooms, kitchen and living quarters, as well as empty garbage and other household chores.
Their day typically consists of: “Running calls, training, and physical fitness,” Ballard said.
Physical fitness is key. The crews typically work out in the morning for about an hour from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Then it is time for some on-the-job training to keep their skills in check.
“Station 1 is in charge of training,” Ballard said. “Today we are doing low-angle rescue, commercial ventilation operations, air bag and struts.”
Training will last about two hours, from 10 a.m. to noon, Ballard said.
During this week's training, crews performed a rescue of a patient trapped under a vehicle. Using an airbag, they lift the vehicle up off the trapped person, pulling them out from under the vehicle.
While getting ready to go the next training operation, Station 1 gets a medical aid call.
After running the call, the crew goes to its next training session.
Crews arrive at a vacant commercial building to perform simulated commercial ventilation operations. Using a chalksaw they outline where they would have cut the roof for ventilation in the event of a true fire.
Crews return to the station around noon for a lunch break but remain ready for any 911 call they may get dispatched to. Emergencies don’t wait for crews to finish cooking or eating. They are ready to respond the moment the bells go off.
“We turn everything off and go on the call,” Ballard said. “We are out the door quick.”
While en route to calls the crew prepare for what they may encounter on scene.
“So, if I get a roll over (traffic collision) and it’s confirmed, I’m thinking I need a battalion chief and an additional engine,” Ballard said.
Once on scene, safety is the No. 1 priority, according to Ballard. The engineer will park the fire truck at a diagonal to put a wall between emergency crews and victims.
“If somebody is going to hit us, (the truck is) going to protect us and the patients,” Ballard said.
“Sometimes everybody is calm, sometimes everyone one is freaking out, sometimes there are people outside waving their hands yelling ‘hurry, hurry over here,'" according to Firefighter/paramedic Landon Hill from Station No. 3.
After a call, crews restock the truck as soon as possible to be ready for the next emergency.
Fire crews don’t have a set bed time, but are typically in bed by 11 p.m., according to the captain. Crews are typically working on training and other projects until about 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., according to Ballard.
Sleeping crews remain alert and ready for night-time emergencies. During a night-time call, crews wake up to a tone going off. All the lights in the station turn on automatically, according to Ballard.
Then crews hear the dispatcher over the loud speaker, a call detail prints up on a printer and the call information is also on the computer in the fire truck.
“We’re busy nonstop,” Ballard said.