Q: Why do I think there's a commie behind every tree?

Utilize the language with the same manipulation the Commies do, using the phrase "VACCINE FREE" instead of "UNVACCINATED" or "NON-VACCINATED"

Situational Awareness Lesson - Personal Experience

Situational Awareness – A Lesson Forever Learned


I am a CT state certified Fire Instructor and use this story whenever I have the opportunity to impart my knowledge on the new or less experienced people in the fire service. It is very easy in an emergency to want to rush in to help, but you have got to stop and look at the big picture. A good example; “OMG… that person is lying on the ground unresponsive!” as the new EMT races over to help, not seeing the power line that came down and caused the victim to become unresponsive. Now there are two victims, the original and the EMT. Old timers will tell you that when you get to an emergency scene, you should get out of the vehicle, stop, bend over, and make sure your shoes are tied. That simple pause will be enough to slow you down and remember to look around first. I also use my story for those civilians I talk to about situational awareness being an integral part of personal self-defense. I tell them that if you maintain awareness and avoid certain situations, you may not even have to defend yourself. This story could have certainly ended in disaster.

A little background first; I was a member of the XXXXXX Fire Department from December 1983 until August 1995, and a Lieutenant in the department from June 1989 until June 1993. As officers, we had a “duty week” where each officer was responsible in rotation for all non-emergency, routine, service, or nuisance calls on nights and weekends. In 1989, the entire state of Connecticut went to the E-911 emergency system. Previously 911 was only available in the largest cities and in 1989 it now covered places that was used to having to dial the full seven digit number for emergency services. This presented an initial challenge for the small town departments responding to false calls or “911 hang-ups” where dispatch was unable to make the return call. Needless to say there was about a 6 month “learning curve” for residents and the reasons for these false calls were too numerous to list. For our department, each one required a fire officer and a state trooper to respond to check things out. Normally, we beat the state trooper to the residence, checked things out, cleared the call with our dispatch and cancelled the state police. These calls just became routine and annoying. Until…

It was late autumn and a chilly evening around 9 PM meaning well after dark, and it was my duty week. Dispatch called me at home by telephone for a 911 hang-up and no answer on the return call. The address was on a dark back country road with houses and farms spaced farther apart than in a denser neighborhood. Our department protocol was to respond to these calls with our vehicle blue emergency lights lit, wearing our firefighting bunker gear, and carrying our badge and ID which is exactly what I did. I rolled down the road slowly using my flashlight to try to find the house number on the mailbox. All of a sudden I see the porch light of the next house on the right blinking on and off. Sure enough, it is the correct address. I call dispatch on the radio, tell them I am on arrival, park my truck and head for the front door.

I reach the front door and ring the doorbell. The door opens and a woman is standing there and I say, “Hi, I’m LT. XXXXX XXXXX from the XXXXXX Fire Department. We got a 911 hang-up call from this residence, is everything OK?”

I will never forget the absolute tunnel vision I had just looking at her, but not processing what I was seeing. She is at the door in her heavy coat and crying. At her feet are packed suitcases, and behind her on a table is a baby in an infant carrier also crying. She answers between sobs, “Why don’t you ask asshole over there?” and motions over her left shoulder. All of a sudden, my vision went from looking through a telescope to a wide angle camera lens. Really, there is no other way I can describe it. There, sitting in the back of the room was “asshole” (the woman’s husband it turned out), sitting in a chair leaning back against the wall, an angry look on his face, arms crossed, and the telephone ripped off the wall dangling by the wires. All of a sudden I put together in my brain what was going on… she was leaving and taking the baby. He was not going to let her just go and maybe threatened her. She called 911 and while on the phone he yanked it off the wall. Holy shit… I just walked into an active domestic and I was all by myself. My dispatch knew I was there but that was it. “I’ll be right back” I said as I walked backwards out the door. I had no idea who may or may not be armed and thankfully everyone stayed put. CT State Police were still on their way.

Once out of their sight I made a run for my truck and ducked down by the right front fender, putting the engine block between me and the open front door. I get on my portable radio and call dispatch telling them this was an active domestic and to expedite the state police. I remember making that call, and it was certainly not the calm measured demeanor of experience I have today on the radio, I screamed my transmission like a frightened little child with a monster under my bed. Crouched next to my truck is right where I stayed.

The state police arrived in at least three cruisers and went cautiously up to the house. I peered over the hood of my truck and watched until they came out with the husband in handcuffs. Only after that did I come out of my hiding place and finish up at the call, and then clear the scene with dispatch.


Epilogue: Ask any law enforcement officer what is the worst type of call they respond to, and most of them will say it is the domestic incident. They can turn incredibly violent in an instant. In the fire service, a line of duty death (LODD) or serious injury occurs because of many factors, not just the one single thing casual observer’s seem to focus on. It can be traced all the way back to what time that firefighter or EMT woke up that morning. It is the Swiss cheese theory. Cut two slices of Swiss cheese from a block and casually toss them on a plate and the holes don’t line up. That equates to there not being a debilitating injury or LODD. But lay those two slices carefully so that all the holes line up, and each hole becomes a factor that contributes to the injury or LODD. My lack of situational awareness was only one factor that night to be sure, and the fact that I walked away unscathed means at least one hole of the slices of Swiss cheese in the cosmos was blocked.

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