Today ended up being kind of a wild day in the evening, and I’d expected it to be relatively tame.
I’d planned on going to the volunteer office to do a fairly large new volunteer orientation, but then we got a fire call at around 4:30 and there was no team lead on the schedule. Since I was scheduled to start at 6, I helped coordinate our response and then ended up agreeing to go on the call. Before I could go, though, I had to wait for the other person on the schedule to get to the office, so I had a little time to kill. Thankfully, I’d thought out all of the potential scenarios last week when I realized I’d scheduled myself while an orientation was going on, so I had another volunteer helping with the orientation. That didn’t stop me from leading the first 10 minutes of it or so and probably confusing everyone. “Hi! I’m Lindsay, I’m your regional lead. Umm… I’m actually on my way to a fire, but here, do this, this, and this,” and then I walked away. Not exactly my best orientation. 😉
After I left the orientation, I headed outside to wait for my other volunteer and I checked in with the website that handles 911 calls to do some incident verification. I did this while we had a sheltering boot camp going on at the same time, which meant every time I moved or made noise, I was afraid the sheltering participants could hear me.
Meanwhile, I was having a heck of a time getting in touch with our client that we were about to go see, so there were lots of calls back and forth between 911, the client, the fire department, our national dispatch center in Philadelphia, and me. Eventually, we got the situation sorted out and my other volunteer arrived, so we left.
The call was in a not-so-great part of town that was full of one-way streets. Lots of people sitting on porches, lots of people yelling at us to get out of their neighborhood (for real). Eventually we found where we were going, talked to the clients, and then went to scope out the scene of the fire. When we got there, we couldn’t be sure that the place was completely uninhabited – a lot of the houses in the area are vacant, and the fire had been completely put out, but the windows and doors weren’t boarded up so everything was out in the open. Plus, it was dark. So I started to go inside (worst DAT Lead ever!!), but the other volunteer pulled me back out. I seem to lack both common sense and a fear gene.
We left as a group of guys was walking down the street towards us, yelling (at us?), and the poor volunteer I was with barely waited for me to get in the car before she locked us in and turned the key in the ignition from the passenger’s side. I think she was a little spooked. Me, I was looking for some fun, but I could tell she wasn’t into getting killed today, so we left.
We completed paperwork in a nursing home parking lot and then made our way back towards the chapter. I dropped myself off at my car (this is becoming the best arrangement ever), and by the time I got home, I was getting texts from our leadership asking how the call went. There were a few suspicious details involved in the call, which is why everyone was so on edge… but I’m happy to say that we got in and out without incident and ended up helping two people.
At this point, I can only assume that the orientation went off without a hitch, and I haven’t heard anything to the contrary. But man, I really need to stop scheduling myself during orientation sessions (this is the second time in three months that I’ve had to basically ditch an orientation for a DAT call).
Maybe someday I’ll learn! 🙂