Have you ever seen a fire engine being driven down the road with its red lights shining and siren blaring; witnessed firefighters wearing heavy coats, pants and helmets responding to help someone? Have you ever wondered what it takes to do that? In the early days—even here on the Westside—normal everyday citizens would hear the bell ring, knowing somewhere someone needed assistance. They would run out of their shops, their businesses, or their homes, and wait by the curb to jump on the fire engine, some still wearing their work attire – ready to go help their neighbors.
If there was a fire, buckets of water were used to douse the flames or burlap sacks were used to “beat” the flames out. If there were medical emergencies, the local doctor was summoned for assistance.
Back then, the training involved for handling these emergencies was quite less than what it is today. As society grew, the need for more modernized equipment became apparent. With that equipment came a greater need for training, and with increased training came the ability of our firefighters to do more than just fight fires.
Today, our firefighters (Volunteer and Career) are trained to respond to a greater variety of calls then those of days gone by. We still fight fires – structure fires, vehicle fires, trash fires and vegetation fires – each with their own complex hazards. Instead of summoning the local doctor for medical emergencies, our personnel are trained in first aid and CPR; certified as first responders, emergency medical technicians, and even some as Paramedics. These advances in medical training give our firefighters the ability to provide a better level of service to our community members.
As we’ve progressed over the years, the need to “do more” has become the firefighter creed. We don’t just wait for the fires anymore – hazardous materials response, technical rescue (including vehicle extrication, high angle/low angle rope rescue, confined space and trench rescue, flood and swift water rescue), fire inspections, public education, and much more are all in a day’s work. Still interested? The amount of initial training is approximately 200 hours. It sounds like a lot of time, but what you’ll get out of it is so beneficial – to you, your family, your coworkers, and your community.
Stop by the Fire Department Headquarters down town (next to City Hall) for an application!
Local volunteer firefighter Brandon Cousins has served with other members of Patterson Fire Station 1 at 344 W. Las Palmas Avenue since his inception on April 9, 2011. Although Cousins is an active member with the local fire station, he also takes part in a myriad of events for the public, and has been employed as a plumber at Beekman’s Custom Plumbing for the last three years.
According to Cousins, volunteering as a firefighter in Patterson is a privilege and an honor.
“Helping my community is what I want my career to be,” said Cousins. “My goal is to help in any way I can in my community.”
Cousins said he aspires to grow with Patterson and West Stanislaus Fire Department to provide a greater level of safety and resources in the years to come.
Apart from fighting fires and providing community assets, Cousins likes to spend his free time dirt bike riding and spending time with his family.