Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.


The siren wails, as we cruise through Birregurra's small downtown at a brisk but not reckless speed. From the high cab of the firetruck I see the people seated outside the cafes downtown look up as we go past. I'm seated behind the driver, trying to attach the neck-guard to my yellow helmet. Indeed I'd only just ripped the plastic off all my gear when the call out and come on my phone a few minutes earlier, and I realized I probably should have unboxed the gear already. Across the radio other fire trucks from surrounding areas are checking in in a sort of precisely mandated incantation: "vic fire Deans Marsh Tanker One on scene" "Vic fire Birregurra command vehicle en route" "vic fire barwon downs tanker one en route" * and a bit of more specific traffic such as "Barwon downs tanker one this is Deepdean control could you stop the traffic at..." There's three other firefighters in the truck with me, they conduct themselves in a brisk businesslike manner, no one is joking, someone died at the last car crash we were called out to just the other day.

I haven't been remembering dreams lately but weirdly I do remember having drempt I was driving a firetruck the night before -- and had returned it to the wrong station. And then I'd had a bad dream which is extremely rare for me. I was standing on the dock watching a sailing race go by, primarily big schooners. The boat I used to sail on, the Hawaiian Chieftain, was in the lead with her tanbark (dark red) mainsail clear and distinct -- she hadn't even had that sail any more when I knew her. I was talking with a former captain I liked. Suddenly a small sailboat about cracked in half not far from the dock and went down immediately with the two crew members. I jumped in after them and had to swim down to get them. I used to be a lifeguard so this part of the dream was no doubt informed by actual memories, I got to them, they gripped me wildly, I calmly pushed them away and got them in a manner where they were both facing away from me and couldn't accidentally drown me. Upon coming to the surface... they were both dead and the woman looked like she had been dead a long time, was falling apart. I woke up at this point and lay there listening to the rain, feeling weirdly disturbed, thinking "but they were just alive!"

Later on, telling my dear friend Kori about the dream she remarked "Chiefie's tanbark sails are no longer fit for use at all, they are rotting in the laz" referring to a dark dank storage area down near the bilge of the ship. I found the reference to rotting in a deep dark place an unsettling reminder of other parts of the dream.

I happened to be home working on my computer when the app the fire brigade uses began its urgent beeping on my phone. Minutes later I was piling into my car.

This was the third serious accident at this intersection (near a place called Deepdean?) a few km from town in five days. Two country roads intersect perpendicularly right after both come over a rise. One has stop signs the other doesn't. Both are fairly straight and people cruise along at about 60mph... and apparently tend to blow right through the stop signs. (I heard one firefighter saying "I was in the States once, did you know they have intersections with stop signs on all four sides? Who has right of way! No one knows!")

There was a serious collision on Christmas Eve. Day after Christmas there was one fatality and six people hospitalized. And now this was two days later and as we approached I could see two smashed cars both fifty feet off the road in the fields. A wheel and part of the ganglia that should attach it to the car sat in the middle of the intersection. As we approached the other men in the truck exploded with things like "fuckin hell! It looks just like the last one!" Several trucks and police vehicles were already there.

We came to a stop on the road near one of the cars, jumped out, powered up the pump and ran out the hoses. Nothing was on fire or smoking but we had a person standing with a hose on either side of the car just in case. The car was in long dry grass so it seemed a good precaution. I was one of these two people.

After awhile someone told me to let loose with the hose onto the unremarkable grass nearby and I wasn't sure he wasn't just trying to make the new guy look like an idiot but then he explained the water in the hose heats up and can cause the pump to come unprimed or something if you don't occasionally let out some water.

Two adults were put on backboards by the paramedics (I asked if we were supposed to render any medical aid if we arrived first and was told "nope we don't touch em, we're just [volunteer] firefighter" "not even a tournequit?" "Not even a tournequit"). I couldn't see the two injured adults because they were far side of the car from me. "If they look like the two people who died in my dream...!" I thought to myself but fortunately they did not. Amother adult from the car seemed to be fine and there was a five or six year old little girl who fortunately seemed unharmed. Later saw a grizzled old firefighter carrying her like a koala, and another brought her a teddy bear from somewhere. A medivac helicopter eventually arrived, landed a few hundred meters down the road, and the injured adults who had been put in an ambulance while waiting for it, were driven over and transferred to the helicopter

About three hours after call out the cars were taken away on flatbeds and we returned to base and dispersed. Apparently this Sunday there'll be a big press conference with politicians and all about the accidents. The intersection already has as many warning signs as one could come up with and rumble strips on the approach of tho road wits stop signs. I reckon they need to offset tho two sides of that road so it's not possible to fly on through.

In other related news, just prior to the call out actually, Pandora introduced me to this sad song about firefighters I quite like:

Tags: australia, birregurra, fire brigade, lifesaving

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