Since the beginning of our Team, we have worked to be sure our clinicians have a good understand of our firefighters and their work. To that end, we have developed a two-day training program to provide our clinicians an opportunity to experience the Fire Service culture.

We now have sixteen clinicians who work with us on our Team and this training introduces them to the Fire Service culture and the life of a firefighter.

The first day is what we call our “Day with Our Clinicians” and includes an orientation for them in our classroom followed by a tour of NCFD Station 2 to give them a perspective as to the living conditions in a state-of-the-art firehouse, complete with private rooms for each firefighter, a kitchen that rivals most modern restaurants, and a trip down the spiral slide for those that are adventurous enough.

Then, we travel downtown to oldest firehouse in use on the East coast, the Old CFD Central Station which houses Engines 102 and 103.  There, they see where the horses were brought in from the stable to be hitched to the Steamers and the large bunk room where the all firefighters sleep dormitory style.  Then, they look over the old log books that record much of the history of the firehouse written by the many firefighters that have served there since the late 1800s.  During the visits to these firehouses, they visit with all the firefighters on duty who share their knowledge and love of the job.

Afterwards, a visit to the Charleston Consolidated Dispatch Center gives them an upfront view of the nerve center of emergency operations in our county as they watch and listen to our 911 telecommunicators as they work.  We conclude the day with a visit to the Charleston 9 Memorial Park where we share stories of nine good men and their love of their families and the Fire Service so that they understand why we do what we do.

Today, we rolled out our second day of the training with them with our “Day on the Hill”.  The day is spent at the NCFD Training Center “up on the hill” behind NCFD Station 4.  They joined members of the NCFD while they completed their Battalion burns that included observing scenarios as the companies handled different fires.  After the scenarios, Ashley Lauderdale and Laura Tait, two of our clinicians from the local First Responder Support Team attended and suited up in turnout gear and SCBA to get some experience with what it’s like to get down and dirty.

This was our first day with the “Day on the Hill class” with two more dates coming up for our remaining clinicians. We feel comfortable, and we hope they do, that this training will be helpful as we continue to develop our Team to be there for all that we serve.  Special thanks to NCFD Training Officer Steve Gillespie, our Team Leader, NCFD Captain David Reindollar and to all the NCFD members in attendance for their hospitality and making this a great experience.