Thursday, November 29, 2012

Notes from the Firehouse b y D.E. McCourt

Notes from the Firehouse: Seventeen Firefighting Stories from a Retired FirefighterA memoir from a retired firefighter about firefighting, rescue calls and life around the firehouse. 

It's not all about fire - that's lesson number one. 
No, it's a collection of things: assisting an injured person at three o'clock in the morning, calming a child in a traumatic situation, saving the belongings of a family from the ravages of a fire, seeing people in every heartbreaking situation imaginable and trying to help them, while not losing yourself in the process.

And it's about the insanity found in the firehouse - to the author it's the Cracker Factory - and the politics and pettiness that try unsuccessfully to steal the joy from the job. This book is the blue-collared view of a career firefighter. 

The seventeen stories in Notes from the Firehouse take the reader on a journey with the everyday firefighter from his first days as a rookie, to his last fire that prematurely sends him into retirement.

A Note from the Author, Doug McCourt

Most people that read “Notes from the Firehouse” are surprised to learn that firefighters respond to a very broad spectrum of challenges. Firefighting isn’t always about fighting fires, although it’s about that too. Right from the start I realized it wasn’t anything like the Hollywood stereotypes. I never saw a Dalmatian in a firehouse or saw a burning automobile explode like an incendiary bomb and there was a lot more down time and false alarms than I expected. 

But somewhere in every city or town there is a small drama playing out; it might not make the papers, but to the individuals involved it’s a serious event. As a firefighter you respond to hundreds of these calls, then thousands; eventually you’re confronted with every situation imaginable, but it’s the poignant ones that you remember - indelible pictures of chaotic scenes that “take a little piece of you.” My goal was to give the reader a realistic peek into that looking glass world.

 I also give a few examples of how random and unpredictable the job can be, sometimes it involved capturing runaway parrots, evicting vagrant bats, extricating small dogs from snow-blowers, and extinguishing brush fires while being bombarded with golf balls. Of course, there are a few stories about that special brand of insanity that’s found in the firehouse – some of us called it the Cracker Factory. 

I entered into the world of firefighting with thoughts of burning buildings and dramatic rescues, but it was these subtle human dramas that made the work of a firefighter so interesting and rewarding.

My Review

When I was asked to review Notes from the Firehouse, I really had no idea what to expect. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. The stories are heartwarming and give insight to what the fire fighters encounter on and off the job. 

The book began with a wonderful story about the author's father which will bring tears to your eyes. I enjoyed that the book was a culmination of stories and allowed the reader to find a place in which to put the book down and pick it up at a later time, not having forgotten their place in a story. The stories are written with honesty and raw emotion.

The book told the stories of a day in the life of a real fire fighter, and as we are educated, we find that it is not always what we see on television. Who knew fire fighters would be called in to catch a bat or rescue a wayward bird from a tree? And while most of us think of fire fighters out fighting house fires, it is the little things, the little rescues that truly show the heart and soul of these men and women. 

One of the stories that had me laughing until I had tears in my eyes was picturing a fire fighter knocking around and breaking things in a closed room, all while trying to contain a bat, and who's very actions seemed to curtail further requests to capture bats. 

This book would be a great gift for anyone, especially with Christmas coming up. It is like a little chicken soup for the soul as you follow one fire fighter's days on the job from rookie to retirement. 

If you found my review helpful, please consider voting "yes" on my review on Amazon by following the link below. Thanks!!

Notes from the Firehouse can be purchased on Amazon
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  1. I have a friend who is a fire fighter. Boy the stories they can tell.

    Girl Who Reads

  2. This sounds like a good one! Thanks for a great review....I put that one on my wish list!


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