About how they become firefighters
I became a cadet at the Leningrad Fire and Technical School in 1975, immediately after graduation. Attracted by romance - to save people. The profession "rescuer" did not yet exist. Their current functionality - saving people, opening doors, extracting animals from rivers and mines - was performed by firefighters. The equipment that we had then, and the current one, is heaven and earth. And not only equipment. I began to work in the part where even the urgent service soldiers did not have beds in the guard. We pounded the bunks ourselves. They didn’t give out linen - they slept under their greatcoats. In 1978, I arrived from the quenching of a tire factory as pitch black, only my teeth were white. And nowhere to wash! From the tap only cold water. They had to heat with coal, the water in the tanks froze, the rats ran. Horror! And now in our unit everything is at home. Please, here is the bed, here is the linen, it’s warm.
In 2001, the fire department became part of the Ministry of Emergencies. We began to go on calls with rescuers. There was a competition: who is cooler, stronger, more skillful? Of course, there was no showdown at the scene of the emergency who was running where. But outside of work, they kept pushing each other all the time, who didn’t know what. Rescuers were driving emergency rescue vehicles that were not suitable for fighting fires. But they had jacks, clamps, wire cutters, chainsaws, chainsaws. They perfectly knew the mountaineering training, how to open the doors, dismantle the rubble. Firefighters also knew all this, but not so deeply and not so often used in practice. Everyone learned from each other. Now the differences are almost erased, so the state plans to finally combine the two professions into one. This is necessary because, by law, rescuers cannot do what firefighters are supposed to do, and vice versa. But if a person is in trouble, no laws can stop people who were the first to come to help.
If combined, it will be on the American model. They have paramedics - and firefighters, and rescuers, and provide first aid. We, however, are already the same. We are learning how to stop the blood, how to do artificial respiration. There are even mannequins on which we train to take birth in various conditions.
In 2001, the fire brigade became part of the Ministry of Emergencies. We began to go on calls with rescuers. There was a competition: who is cooler, stronger, more skillful?
About profession requirements
Previously, the main requirement was - good physical fitness. It was also necessary to serve in the army and not have a criminal record. Vocational training was in place. Where the leader is stronger, specialists are better prepared there. But tasks were carried out everywhere. I don’t remember someone who wouldn’t be saved due to the unpreparedness of firefighters.
Now the requirements are much tougher. In addition to physical fitness, now there is psychological. A person can be a good savior, but he will see blood - and consciousness will lose. This will not work. Therefore, our psychologist service conducts rigorous testing. If a person does not pass it, we do not take it.
But even if hired, this is not a guarantee of a quiet life. Once a quarter, all employees take tests for physical, psychological, tactical and theoretical training. Not passed - a month later for a retake. Did not pass the second time - dismissal. In my century, one person could not catch up on the crossbar, although physically he was very well prepared. He could take two hefty men under his arms and pull him out. And he couldn’t catch up due to the fact that he weighed more than 100 kilograms. To stay here to work, he lost 20 kilograms in a month. Passed the test, continues to work.
Psychological preparation is primarily a heat and smoke chamber. There were cases when not the most experienced people tore off their masks when doing exercises. For example, a narrow hole: it is necessary to climb through clothes and apparatus at elevated temperatures, with a bunch of any equipment, in conditions of limited visibility through an enclosed space. Some do not stand up, tear off the mask, panic. The emergency support is immediately turned on, the smoke is removed, the link comes to the rescue and takes the test person to fresh air. If this is repeated, we part with the person. It is impossible for a fireman to go to save people, while others thought how to save himself.
Firefighters themselves figure out how to complicate the preparation. They build boxes, make mock-ups of a non-standard window opening, so that it is difficult to find a support. A firefighter in a mask of a breathing apparatus cannot look around. They also pour sand into the sleeves to make it harder to drag.
Rescuers come in different classes - international, first, second, third, and just lifeguards. An internationalist has much more experience than a simple lifeguard. To get the title, you need to work out a certain number of hours in emergency situations and pass tests.
Psychological training - This is primarily a heat chamber.
Not all go through it
Previously, many believed that firefighters sleep 24 hours a day. I would love to, but this never happens. Firefighters work a day after four. When on duty, they are constantly busy. From morning to lunch - classes: alp training, fire, tactical, physical training. After lunch - rest and self-training, working out standards. Only in the evening a little time appears to watch TV.
Often we have classes on the ground. We need to know the city, all the streets, alleys, driveways, tunnels, how to get to this or that house, where to install the stairs, where the lights turn off in the house, where are the fire hydrants, in what condition they are. At any exit, a lot of questions immediately arise: where is the shortest path? Where can I cut? Where can I break without creating an emergency?
A hundred-meter articulated boom lift (a tool for rescue operations) can not be installed everywhere. Once, an accident occurred because of this. It was necessary to install a lift to save people from a burning apartment, and parked vehicles near houses and small fences that enclose lawns were in the way. As a result, one paw of the lift was installed on this fence. When a man climbed into the cabin, the center of gravity shifted to this support. The lift rolled over and crushed three cars. Our guys suffered.
However, time for classes during duty remains only if there are no calls. Guys always fly on them with burning eyes. They try to arrive faster, assess the situation, strength, set the barrel, show miracles of heroism, give their devices to save children, the elderly, those who can’t walk. Each fireman can carry out any rescue work, but everyone has his own responsibilities. When deployed, everyone knows what to do.
When the first calculations only arrive at the scene of the fire, they use a tank with a supply of water from 500 liters to six tons, depending on the make of the car on which they arrived. The second machine sets the barrel on the hydrant and paves the trunk line to be able to work at least a few days, maintaining a constant flow of water.
Most often, rescuers are called to assist the ambulance. A female doctor cannot bear a man on a stretcher - our guys come and help. Often you have to open the door. And rescuers do it for free. Some commercial structures, under the guise of the Ministry of Emergencies, also open the door, but they take money for this. Therefore, sometimes you have to deal with the complaints of residents.
Most often called to assist an ambulance. A female doctor cannot carry a person on a stretcher - our guys come, help
With the greatest reluctance, we go to extinguish garbage dumps and to calls for apartment alarms. Most often they are false. It happens, and hooligans play pranks. But false calls do not interfere much. When a call arrives, the computer immediately displays which part is nearest. If the calculations have already left from there, the call will be forwarded to the other nearest part. So there were no such situations in which we went to a fake call, and someone died in our area, in my practice.
What are the most difficult challenges? Once I went to put out a small fire. Two boards and a jar burned. Back then soldiers-conscripts worked. One of them accidentally got a jet of water into the opening of this can. And there was oil in it that spilled right into his face. The man received serious burns. And how to determine - a simple or complex fire? I always say: if I light two identical matches now, they will still burn differently. Angle, thickness, humidity - everything affects.
There are no formal rules on the order of salvation. If this is an accident, then save by the severity of the injury. And in the fire you grab the one who first caught. If mass rescue or evacuation, men usually let women go ahead.
Salaries are now at a decent level, although for many years there has been no indexation. Of course, you always want more, but the level is decent. No one complains. Everyone, including cleaners, receive bonuses on professional holidays - Firefighter Day and Lifeguard Day. Women are congratulated on March 8. Plus you can earn extra money at city events. For example, we expose people to ensure fire safety in schools on September 1. A man works on a day off - and for this he is entitled to an increase.
Complaints that firefighters stole something do not arrive. Such cases were earlier when conscripts were still working. But this is a very long time. Now there is no such thing. I remember extinguishing somehow the apartment in which, on the table, were thick stacks of dollars, yen and euros. Naturally, we did not take a cent. The man then came and presented us with cakes and beer. Although we told him that nothing was needed. Of course, maybe there are scumbags who steal, but I have not heard about them. Most often they complain about us that we do not speak too culturally. It happens, yes. It also happens that when we smother, we’ll break some vase.
About fear and tragedy
Fear is not atrophied. How can he be atrophied? Many years ago, I was left at the metro station alone during heavy smoke. The movement of trains was not immediately stopped, and I had to forbid the drivers to disembark passengers. One of them disobeyed and opened the door. I had to drive people back into the car. At some point, I realized that I was alone here, the smoke was getting thicker, and I still needed to climb a huge height along an idle escalator. It was really scary. In the end, I just wandered through the tunnel in the hope of meeting another unit there. Lucky.
There was a case when I lost orientation in the attic. I did not know where to go. But he calmed down and orientated that the temperature was rising on the left and the pitched roof on the right. He went out, found the guys who were rising. Situations are very different. We must not lose our temper and not panic. And to know that they will always come to you.
According to the rules of labor protection, a firefighter cannot remain at the facility alone. Be sure to be a minimum of three. But there are different situations. Remember the tragic incident with the hero of Russia Evgeny Chernyshev? He returned to the burning house to save people. He saved people, but he died. Therefore, you cannot walk alone.
According to the rules of labor protection, a fireman cannot be left alone at the facility. Required need to be a minimum of three
It's hard to bury the guys. You will never get used to it. My nephew died in a fire. I told him: "Glory, the work is dangerous." But what is the use of dissuading a person? I was surprised when his mother said: "It was his job." She did not blame us for not saving him, for sending him to hell, and he was still so young. It’s clear that losing relatives is always painful. But a man must feel, see how you dissuade him?
Experienced guys always pass on the experience to the young. I was taught to survive the explosions when saunas burn. This is a very common story. Have you ever gone into water in clothes? It feels like it’s not wet yet, but the clothes are already sticking. Before the explosion, the exact same sensation lasts one to two seconds. During this time, you need to have time to fall to the floor. Then the explosion passes over you, you will remain alive. If you clicked, you can fly with the blast wave somewhere into the wall. I flew like this once - at a tire factory. Fortunately, the guys caught me.
I don’t want to quit after the tragedies. Although in 2001 I still retired. For four years he was engaged in fire extinguishing means. But in 2005 he returned. Every time there was a fire somewhere during this period, I was there with my soul. Probably in ordinary life there is not enough adrenaline. And many first leave, and then return. Not because they don’t know how to do anything. But because a fireman is a vocation.
I'm used to all sorts of things: explosions, killings, dismemberment. I take this calmly. The most unpleasant thing is the explosions in the subway. Still, in the subway we are accustomed to a certain picture: trains, passengers scurrying about, flea market. And here lie torn corpses, blood everywhere. It was even more terrible to disassemble the rubble after the explosions on Guryanov and Kashirskoye Highways. You can get used to the appearance of a torn body, but you cannot get used to the attacks themselves.
How to know whether to regret something or not? Here you come to the apartment - and there is a corpse. Who knows, could we have time to save him or not? Maybe he just died, and if we had entered the apartment five seconds earlier, we would have saved him.
I had a case. A man is standing on the balcony. He has a flame behind. We set him up the stairs. She doesn’t reach him three or four meters, he jumps at her, but he doesn’t manage to catch his hands. Falls down from the ninth floor and breaks. How to evaluate it? Could we save him or not? We shouted to him: "Do not jump, be patient for a few seconds." But he could not stand it. Do we need to blame ourselves or not? I do not know. If at one of the traffic lights green burned, but not red, if our car were immediately passed everywhere, we could be in time.
If the car doesn’t let us through, I always say, "How do you know maybe we're going to your apartment? "
If they don’t let us in, I always say: “How do you know, maybe we are going to your apartment?” The driver then immediately thinks. Ten to fifteen seconds can save a human life. Our mentality is not the same as in the West, where everyone is let through without question. Are you signaling? You’ll think about where you’re going. Now, however, better, fire and rescue vehicles began to miss.
I remember: I was traveling to Vnukovo when there the plane rolled out of the runway. One machine does not let in any. I went out and asked: "Well, what to do with you?" He could calmly take to the right - and I would drive. No, he stands: "Why do I owe you, scratch your car?" Yes, do not scratch, but I see that a person simply does not want to miss. I have nothing against the "Blue Buckets", they are fighting with the flashing lights of officials. But the operational machine does not go for beer, not to the store. I have a company car, but I swear I never drove home with the beacons on. And 90% of lifeguards, too, I guarantee you.
There are many curiosities. Recently asked to catch a parrot. We walked around a tree, looked at him, he was at us. Developed a strategy, how to remove it: wait for the dark, put the stairs, climb a tree? And he looked at us, looked, and then he will say in a man's voice: "What are you going to walk around in, will we eat?"
He once pulled a woman out of the apartment. She caught her foot on something, and she bent over. I feel, I feel - I just can’t find it. Well, thought legless. I drag it - but it doesn’t drag it: the leg is hooked.
Recently, one moonshiner knocked on the window of the ninth floor. He decided that his "squirrel" began.
About dreams and the future
When physical data no longer allows you to work “in the field”, many go to teachers or to administrative work. You can deal with children, you can become a dispatcher, the head of the garage or a hose master.
But while they are working, all rescuers dream of showing their skills, helping, saving people, putting out a fire, digging through the mud. All those on duty do not want to relax. There are no people who came to sit out, get money and leave. Maybe one or two have fussed around, but they will still leave later.
I personally dream that people understand that we are not firefighters, but firefighters. What we need, as doctors, we help people in any weather. When everyone is fleeing from some place, we go there. Heroism, endurance, courage, resourcefulness - these are our qualities. And I also dream that Muscovites knew about us only from stories.