Congratulations to Firefighter David Doerrman on more than 41 years of combined service to the City of Reading. Dave first joined the Neversink Fire Company Engine 3 in May of 1976. Dave would then be hired by the department on February 1st 1993. After completing fire training Doerrman was assigned to the D platoon. In August of 1994 Doerrman took assignment on Engine 9 with the B platoon. Dave would transfer to Engine 14 in July of 1997 after returning to work from an injury. 3 years later he took assignment as the Snorkel driver on the A platoon on August 7 of 2000. Dave also made the transition from the Snorkel to the Tower apparatus in 2004.
Dave plans on enjoying his retirement and family while continuing to hunt and play golf!
I asked Dave to answer a few questions on his experiences and ideas about the department. Here is what he had to say:
Question #1 - Apparatus/Tools/Equipment
Was there anything Apparatus/Tools/Equipment-wise during your career that you felt had a special need, operated quirky, or you felt was a potential problem.
I believe that the Thermal Imaging Camera (TIC) and the meters have been the most useful. In recent times the TIC has been used for so much more than searching for victims at fires. I remember using the TIC at an accident with passenger ejection where the car rolled over on the bypass. We've used the device many times checking for extension after stove fires, that eliminated the need to open up walls unnecessarily. We continue to use the atmospheric meters more and more to check for hazardous environments. In the past we didn't make use of this type of equipment as much.
Question #2 - Calls/Incidents/Experiences/Problem Buildings
Tell us about any calls, incidents, or experiences that offer a lesson learned for other firefighters (especially new ones). I'm sure you could think of many things in your career, but just pick out one or two things that come to mind as being most important
I would say an experience early on in my career taught me about fireground conduct. I can't remember the location but I realized after the fire was out the guys were joking, laughing and making comments. We frequently do these things as firefighters to handle the stress that comes with the job. While engaged in the joking, It occurred to me that the occupants were standing out on the sidewalk. While we weren't making jokes directly about them I could see how the situation could have been interpreted. The lesson I learned from the incident was to try and see it from a citizens point of view. While I enjoyed joining in on the jokes, it gave me another perspective.
Question #3 - Department History
Can you name something from the department that you feel we have lost over the years that might be good to bring back or recall? (procedure, policy, event, ceremony, etc)
I've noticed that the the history of this department is being lost at a rapid pace. We aren't doing enough to pass the information on to the newer members. When I started my career I was surrounded by senior firefighters who were more than happy to impart their wisdom on how "we got here." When the DROP program was implemented we lost many of our senior people quickly. A lot of knowledge left the department, with very few remaining to explain benefits, collective bargaining agreements, and MOU's. I'm sure people got bored with me explaining what I knew about the department and the local. I spent a good portion of my career as an officer with the union and I felt it was important to pass as much on as possible.
Question #4 - Your Wisdom
Can you write one thing that you feel would be helpful to pass on to new firefighter that could help them stay healthy & safe throughout their career?
The most important thing I want to leave here involves "size up". Before you enter the building does it have a porch roof, how many floors, where is the smoke coming from, what color is it? All of your observations can and will affect you on the fireground. Please look out for one another so everyone goes home.