Snapshot of a firefighter

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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What firefighter John Ferry enjoys most about his job is helping people. “If they call us, usually something has gone wrong,” Ferry said. If helping Lincoln’s citizens is the most rewarding aspect of the job, constant training and learning provides the biggest challenge. “We’re all young and we’re willing to learn new things,” Ferry said. “Our heads aren’t so big where we can’t all learn new things.” For Ferry, a typical 48-hour shift begins at 7 a.m., when he arrives at the fire station and checks all of his gear. At 8 a.m., Ferry and his crew have a meeting with the crew on its way out, discussing any problems with the fire engine and talking about the types of calls they went on. Once that’s done, Ferry and his crew make sure the engine is properly equipped before cleaning the station, mowing the lawns and doing any other work that needs to be completed. The fire station is a home, and it comes with all the same chores. Lunch is at noon, and the crew spends several hours each day training – outside whenever possible. After hours, Ferry said he enjoys talking with his two crewmembers about what they did on their days off. But days at the fire station are far from routine. “I can think of a couple of times when we didn’t get much sleep,” Ferry said. “Then the next day, we’re really tired and all we want is a nap.” Though the firefighters’ schedule of two days on and four off sounds cushy, it is anything but. “We average three days in a seven-day period,” Ferry said. “That means we’re working 72 hours in a seven-day period.” Ferry has been a fulltime firefighter with the city of Lincoln for about a year, but has worked as a volunteer firefighter in El Dorado County for the past 10 years. He is spearheading the Lincoln Fire Department’s effort to conduct the inaugural Fireman’s Muster, which will be held the weekend of July 18-19. Several thousand spectators are expected at the event, which will feature firefighting competitions harkening back to the earliest days of the fire department, kids activities, food vendors, an antique car show and a dinner dance. All events are free except for the dinner dance, which costs $15 and will be held on F Street between Fifth and Seventh streets downtown. Firefighter Scott McKinney said Ferry’s contributions to the organization of the Fireman’s Muster have really helped out. “He’s got a lot of insight into planning a muster,” McKinney said, adding that Ferry has done a “really good job” for the Lincoln Fire Department in his year of service. Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at