Have you ever risked your life for a dummy?? You know me, you give me a task to do and I will not stop till the task is done. I am so competitive and I am a “pleaser” I will go go go till its done. Last Friday I was placed in a smoke-filled blacked out house on fire, I was told I had 5 min of air in my tank, I was to do a left-handed search and retrieve the 150lb life-like dummy from somewhere in the house. Ok, that seems easy right?? Well my instructor whom I called “Biggins” ,(since he was almost 7 feet tall and weighed in at 280lbs) like dealing out challenges. Hey that’s what I paid for right, …..to be trained to fight for my life, survive and perform tasks. So we were off, myself and two others, air on and the door flung open…… left hand on the wall never to be taken off again till we were out and could not get lost in the house.
So off we go, pitch black and the only thing I hear is the scott tanks breathing in and out. Kind of sounded like 3 Darth Vadors navigating through a black trash bag. After a few moments we had gone through the galley, living room and bathroom……. bingo, we found our dummy. Sitting neatly, indian style in the back of a closet there he was, a big blob of dead weight. Now I don’t know if you ever tried to move dead weight, but it’s freaking hard!!! The hands and legs just go everywhere and make it damn near impossible to fit through a door way and trying to turn him around in the dark was next to impossible. So we have him trying to drag him to safety and I hear the scott tanks now sucking down air like they were doing a keg stand!!! I just kept thinking , control your breathing Kate or your going to run out of air and the game will be over. Well wouldn’t you know, my dummy got caught in the doorway and I struggled to turn him around (I thought), the only way I could find it possible to make him fit was to fold him and half, and that required me to stand up and sit on him………. That was the moment I risked my life for a dummy. I yelled out “alright ladies I’m putting my ass into it watch out and hold my leg!!!” there I was standing up the heat that much hotter, smoke, steam and air running out. All I hear is Biggins yelling”GET DOWN BOSTON!!! GET DOWN NOW!!!”.
With typical Kate tact, I body slammed the dummy through the door and we were off and crawling again. Why did I do that?? Why did I risk my life for a “dummy” that once I get him out to safety he would walk away like I didn’t even exist? I think it was because it was a challenge, it was a task I became focused on the dummy and lost sight of myself. I guess there could have been multiple ways this task could have ended but we passed, and that’s all I was worried about. I have used that breathing skill everyday since I left Florida. I try to think of what I would sound like (with a scott tank on) and why I would be breathing so hard, like driving to work this morning. Stay calm, pace my breathing don’t get irritated and breath more that’s only hurting myself. What I really learned is that I will no longer risk myself or my safety/sanity for another dummy again in my life!!! I think I will leave them neatly folded up in the closet where they belong, clearly they were hiding there for a reason in the first place…………………………………………………………..