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Truro woman reveals life with her “fire family”

Nicole Guest joined the Truro Fire Service almost two years ago
Nicole Guest joined the Truro Fire Service almost two years ago - Fram Dinshaw
TRURO, N.S. —

Nicole Guest enjoys sharing a smile and cracking jokes with her colleagues after an emergency response.
“When you’re back at the hall, cleaning the gear up, reloading the truck, you’re all together,” said Guest, 28. “You’re a family, you lighten the mood. It’s your downtime after a call, when you all come together.”
She and Truro Fire Service are inviting the public to sign up and share such moments at the annual Walk In Our Boots day coming up this Saturday, Sept. 21.
Guest first joined Truro Fire Service as a volunteer in September 2017.
Most people only see firefighters wearing protective suits and breathing apparatus in emergencies. But Guest said firefighting in Truro is not all work – and it's often a lot of fun.
While off duty, firefighters often take part in sporting competitions with other departments, such as softball, darts, or curling. Others volunteer for community events.
Even the weekly training nights are spiced up by turning them into competitions. 
A favourite training game is The Biggest Wheezer, when firefighters compete to see who can wear an oxygen mask and tank the longest. Another is The Biggest Hoser, where firefighters race to carry hoses up a staircase.
Firefighters can also learn specialist skills, such as ice-water rescue or vehicle extraction. But learning how to break apart vehicles with tools like the Jaws of Life is quite popular – and therapeutic, for some.
“We turn a four-door sedan into a convertible,” Guest quipped. “You learn a lot and can get out a little bit of stress.”
While Guest can often have fun with her fellow firefighters, being part of a family also means sharing in the grief.
She described the last few months as “tough,” as firefighters came to terms with the loss of their colleague, Skyler Blackie, in a training accident.
“It’s like the phoenix, you’ve just gotta rise from the ashes,” said Guest.
Having experienced the highs and lows of firefighting life, Guest wanted the public to know both she and her colleagues are just as human as anyone else.
“We’re just like them,” said Guest. “We’re not anything special. We’re not superman with the capes or Wonder Woman with the invisible plane. We’re just average people with a passion and drive to serve our community in a way that most people don’t think about.”
Guest is completing her level one basic firefighting qualification, which allows her to fight interior blazes. She has also received her medical first-responder certification.
When on the scene of an emergency, she might do anything from directing traffic to helping unload heavy equipment.
“On any scene there’s jobs for everyone,” Guest said.
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Members of the community are invited to attend Walk in Our Boots at the Truro Fire Hall on Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Jaws of Life will open a vehicle, firefighting gear can be tried on, and children will be able to visit a 'smoke room' to experience the haze firefighters often work in.

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