Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Sept. Optimist Club Feature


Lucas Jenkins is a firefighter/EMT with the Town of Bernalillo Fire Department.

First responders are available to help those in other jurisdictions when needed, and that was the case when Lucas and his crew were recently called in to help with a structure fire in Placitas. Lucas earned his firefighter certification when he joined the Bernalillo Fire Department in January, 2022. He had already had two years of training as a volunteer firefighter in Santa Fe County. He got his emergency medical technician training and certification through the Santa Fe Community College, and then worked with Superior Ambulance Service. Before that he had a thirteen year career as an automotive mechanic.

Lucas was initially surprised to learn that firefighters come from a broad variety of backgrounds, including teaching, mechanics, and law enforcement. Each brings special skills which can help address the unique circumstances encountered by firefighters/EMTs as they respond to calls, such as fixing a broken pump on a fire truck or dealing with upset children and panicked adults. Each member of the crew learns from the strengths of the others.

All firefighters have weekly training to keep up to date on all procedures and to maintain physical fitness. Lucas does the physical training at work and then does two hours a day on his own. Firefighters on call must be ready to move heavy victims, furniture, and obstacles when fighting a fire. The work is stressful. A captain once told Lucas that when you suddenly are awakened by the blasting of the fire alarm it is hard on your system. You have to rush to the scene and then deal with whatever is the emergency and do it quickly and correctly. After the forty-eight hour shift it takes time for the body and mind to recover. He relaxes through other activities such as golf, snowboarding in the winter, and river running in the spring.

Fortunately Lucas likes the work, plans to stay with it as his career, and wants people to know to call on the fire department right away when there is an emergency. He says you can trust the firefighters/EMTs-they are here to help.


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