Report of day 12: 18 JanuaryLong Beach, LA, California.
After a quiet night at station 11 Jim brings me back to the Long Beach training facility around 07:30. At the training facility I am working on my blog and have a coffee with Andy. Around 10:00 Battalion Chief Steve arrives at the training facility. Steve has offered to show me around town today. He will take me to high risks in the area and explain the scenario's of handling in case something may go wrong. The tour starts at the harbour. While we are on our way I try to count all the oil derricks we pass. Everywhere around the city there are oil derricks. Not in a group together or in a designated area, they are just about everywhere. The derricks take out the oil and replace it with water. We arrive in the harbour at station 15. This station houses an engine and one of the fireboats. Captain Skip shows me around the vessel. When we are about to descend to the engine room Steve receive a call for an appartement fire. We rush back to the BC1 car and a few moments we drive through long beach with screaming sirens and a roaring engine. I have added a movie for those who are interested. The call appears to be nothing, 'food on the stove'. After 11 days I am starting to think the Americans just don't have any fires to go to! Safe country indeed!
After this we drive on to station 10 to have lunch and to have me installed. Tonight I will ride along with station 10. Captain Mike is on duty together with his crew: engineer Jeff and firefighters Seward and Andy. Tonight Mike will be replaced by captain Block.
After lunch and installation on station 10 we drive to the World Trade Center in Long Beach. This is the tallest high-rise building in Long Beach. Steve and Jim take me on a detailed tour inside the world trade center. Besides the fact that the entrance to the fire control room is gold, the interior is also worth it. Anything and everything can be controlled from this control room: Elevators, Sprinklers, ventilation and a sophisticated communication system that works even without power. High rise buildings in the USA are forced to build a helipad on the roof. 'Would you like to visit the helipad?' You bet! The view over Long Beach on this sunny afternoon is amazing...
After the visit to the WTC Steve takes me on a tour to the harbor, industrial area and downtown. Of course Steven also shows me the 'Queen Mary'. A cruise vessel that is 10 years younger then the Titanic and has been salvaged. Now a day it is used as a hotel and has an icon function for Long Beach. We also visit station 6 who houses the Heavy Rescue truck.
Back on station one it is a great night. The guys are great company, Jeff cooks a healthy and tasty meal. We sit outside to watch a NBA basketball game. Unfortunately, yet again, no fires...
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