Varna Fire Department
I'm glad I arrived early enough for Natan to show me the equipment and explain it to me. There are five spectacular trucks each with its own specialized role. Natan explained the coding behind the numbering of the trucks (which really helped me understand the discussions in the meeting.) The pride and joy, the newest and biggest truck, is 1901. (19 means it belongs to Varna, 0 means it's a pumper, I think, and 1 means it's Varna's first pumper.) I think I'll go get a photo from my eye level. The thing is HUGE. It carries 1500 gallons of water, as well as equipment to connect to hydrants and to pump from a pond. Natan invited me up to view the control panel from which the operator controls pressure to five color coded lines (they're not called hoses.) I think a pretty cool video game could be designed based on the complexity of the interaction of those pumps. It was all incredible to me: the passenger area with the air packs built into the back of the seats so the firefighters can don them en route to the fire, the radios and flashlights ready for the firefighters to grab, the ladders, the lights, the hand tools.
The meeting included extensive discussion of training members had recently participated in and descriptions of upcoming training opportunities. Several budget constraints were discussed. Each captain reported on the status of his or her truck. The membership chairman described the new, complex incentive system designed to encourage members to participate in training and to express appreciation for their participation. There were some housekeeping details, literally. (When I arrived before the meeting, the chief was collecting and carrying out the trash.)
In short, I couldn't be more proud of this group. I think we need to help them write new recruiting material describing the camaraderie, the skills, the fun. Several people asked me if I was there to join and I really had to restrain myself from asking where to sign up.