Firehouse hopes for quiet Thanksgiving

Jane Stebbins
Special to The Leader
Posted 11/27/19

Crews at East Jefferson Fire Rescue are gearing up for Thanksgiving, and if they’re lucky, that could merely mean a few trips to the grocery store to get fixings for the table.

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Firehouse hopes for quiet Thanksgiving

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Crews at East Jefferson Fire Rescue are gearing up for Thanksgiving, and if they’re lucky, that could merely mean a few trips to the grocery store to get fixings for the table.

For them, Thanksgiving is just another day at the station, said Pete Brummel, the assistant chief of operations and training.

“We could get a dozen calls a night, but nothing out of the ordinary,” he said. “If that’s the case, we would coordinate with the Emergency Operations Center and triage calls and upstaff; it’s really not any different than any other daily operations.”

The firefighters here — a combination of paid and volunteer personnel — are on call 24/7, year-round.

That’s not to say emergencies won’t present themselves this Thursday.

While many in town are enjoying a turkey or ham dinner with their family, EJFR might be at a car accident, extracting someone from the wreckage. Or helping the designated chef with an unexpected laceration suffered while carving the bird. Or helping a youngster with a dislocated shoulder suffered during a pickup football game with uncles. There can be cooking fires and arguments.

Then add alcohol.

Brummel has only worked for this fire district for 11 months, but knows from his 23 years in Issaquah that it’s rare something wildly unusual happens on this holiday.

“There’s nothing you can pinpoint: ‘Hey it’s Thanksgiving, there’s going to be cooking fires, fireplaces getting fired up and people forgetting to open the flue, or burning the turkey in the oven.’ Nothing that’s like, ‘Gosh, we know there’s going to be people deep-frying turkeys this year so we’re going to have fryer fires.’ It’s all systems normal.”

He said nationwide, hospitals sometimes see an uptick in patients on Thanksgiving and the Monday following holiday weekends. Those include people complaining of stomach disorders or cardiac problems from taking on too much and waiting so they won’t ruin the weekend for everyone else.

Here, 10 firefighters at the East Jefferson Fire departments — four at the main station on Lawrence in Port Townsend and two each in the outlying stations in Chimacum and on Critter Lane off South Jacob Miller Road — will sit down at the station with family and enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner of their own, Brummel said.

And with any luck, they might not be interrupted.

He did note that the weather forecast is calling for cold and wet conditions that could have an impact on call volume.

“If a call comes in, everyone will go out and a family member will make sure the turkey doesn’t get burned — or salvage what they’ve cooked and reheat it later,” he said.

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