Walk in my shoes: Hattiesburg Firefighters

By Kevin Wheeler - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - I spent a day with a group of Hattiesburg firefighters to see how they work.

The firemen of station two, shift B begin their day at 6:30 a.m. They are led by Lt. Tracy Montague. He explained what happens during a shift change.

"We get with them that morning to find out what all they've done," said Montague. "We see what all turns over today as far as training or any activities that were done that have to turn over today."

Things can change at the drop of a dime and firefighters have to be ready to respond no matter what.

"There are several things we have to look at and you really don't know what to expect, it's unexpected around here," said Montague. "We could have a medical anytime; we could have a fire call anytime."

Lt. Montague took me on a tour of the fire station serves as a second home.

"We work 24-hour shifts, and then we're off for two days, so for 24 hours we're here," said Montague.

Every shift double checks the equipment on the trucks during shift change.

"This is what we would pull off when we get ready to go into a house fire," said Kelvin Patrick, who showed us the fire truck. "There are 200 sections on each one of these."

Engineer Nicholas Hanetho showed us the rescue truck.

"We carry rope rescue equipment, swift water rescue equipment and all our extra air bottles," said Hanetho. "If we get a working fire or fire anywhere in the city we'll respond anywhere on the east side of 49 and carry all the extra bottles."

Kelvin Patrick volunteered to cook breakfast. Grits, eggs, bacon, sausage, and biscuits were on the menu.

I asked the firemen how they agree on a menu.

"We just cook it and if you don't like it, you don't have to eat it," said Elliot Edwards. "Chicken is usually a choice."

Edwards and Hanetho headed to fire station seven to pick up some mannequins for training. Then we were off to station six to drop off some paper work.

The firefighters all share a bond even with employees at the administrative office.

"They are doing a special on me today," said Edwards.

"Actually it's called worthless firemen," joked Hanetho.

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