ON THE SCENE
A day in the life of the Nicholasville Fire Department
Staying ready for the call might be one of the most important tasks of the Nicholasville Fire Department, although that doesn’t mean your local firefighters spend their days sitting around and waiting.
Receiving a call from dispatch is only part of the job and the NFD fills the rest of its time with many other tasks such as fire training, rescue training, emergency medical training, pre-incident planning for local businesses, assisting with carseat installs and recently painting local hydrants.
“We also have a smoke detector program that if people need us to come out and install smoke detectors in the city or change batteries we can. A working smoke detector is very important,” NFD Lieutenant William Gover said. “At 7 a.m. the first thing we do every morning is to check the truck and check off all of our personal safety equipment to make sure that we are ready to go for the day. Then we brief on what we are going to do for the shift.”
During a typical day in between calls, the department works to fulfill both company and shift training, while also making sure to stay ready for the next dispatch to come in.
“That is one thing about this job, we are always training even when there is downtime,” Gover said. “There are always things to do.”
Making sure to quickly and effectively get the job done, Gover said keeping up on training and keeping a call-ready mindset is one of the most important skills as a firefighter. Making sure everyone goes home safely and coming away from a call being able to learn and prepare for their next helps to keep each firefighter ready for the next dispatch.
“We do anything to help anybody,” NFD firefighter Dustin Silverman said. “That is why most of us join the fire service, because we like to help and that is pretty much what the job is.”
Never knowing what the day might consist of, Gover agrees with Silverman, stating being able to help someone on possibly the worst day of their life and potentially easing their situation is what makes their job worthwhile.
Not always sitting around watching TV or playing XBOX as some may think, recruit firefighter Jackson Pearce grew up in Nicholasville and said there is a lot more that goes into the department then what he originally thought. Having only been with the department for five months, Pearce said one thing he has learned is each station is always up to something.
“There is a lot more to it,” Pearce said. “It is a lot of bookwork and tests to keep up on certifications. This is a lot busier of a department than I would have figured, and I am from Nicholasville. People might think (of it as a) smaller town department, but it always seems like it is something. They are always trying to do something.”
Starting off taking a 14-week recruit class, Pearce continues his training on shift and will soon be taking emergency medical technician classes. He will also be required to take Firefighter I and II International Certification, as well as a HAZ-MAT technician-level course in his first couple years to complete the requirements of a NFD firefighter. Depending on the certifications, NFD firefighters are responsible for keeping up on their testing every one to two years, with some re-certifications required biannually. All NFD firefighters are also required to have 100 hours of training annually in varying categories.
“I’ve taken more written tests these last few months than I ever did in college or high school,” Pearce said. “Nobody knows everything, and each officer has a little different way of what is easier for them, so I am just trying to listen and learn everything that I can.”
Tackling hazardous conditions as a team and trusting the firefighter next to you is also important to the local department’s job. Working as a tactful team is at the center of everyday life for the NFD.
“I think of it more as a closeknit family,” Silverman said. “We call each other our brothers. We have females in the department, so we are all brothers and sisters. That is what I would describe it best as — a close-knit family. If someone needs something in the department we are there, we don’t think twice about it. We are always keeping up with each other and making sure everyone is safe and goes home the next morning.”
The brother and sisterhood does not stop with the NFD.
“The very unique thing about fire service is if you walk in a fire station it doesn’t matter if you walk in one in Nicholasville or you walk in one five states away — you get that same feeling walking in,” Gover said.
Silverman agrees with his fellow firefighter.
“It’s a nationwide thing. It is not just in this department. You’re invited in.”
A free smoke detector install applies to non-rental permanent residences located within the city of Nicholasville. For more information call 859-885-5505.