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March 28, 2005

Female firefighter just goes for it

 
Female firefighter just goes for it

Since March is women's history month, it is fitting to look into the history of women firefighters in Ames. One of the first women hired at the Ames Fire Department was Audra Piittmann. Piittmann, now at Station No. 1, was hired in 1998 shortly after she graduated from Iowa State University with an anthropology degree. Jena Pepper was a fire lieutenant when Piittmann was hired and had been employed for about 12 years. Pepper left for a career change into the insurance business shortly after Piittmann arrived. Karen Tapper was hired next and is at Station No. 2.
Piittmann has lived in Ames since 1985 when she moved here to attend ISU. She lived most of her life in Avoca.

Tribune: How did you go from a degree in anthropology to firefighting?
Piittmann: At the time, I worked at the truck stop in Ames. The past fire chief, Mike Childs, was a regular customer and he talked me into testing. I was more into the cultural part of anthropology, which helps with relating to people and figuring out why they do what they do.

Tribune: What was the testing like?
Piittmann: I took a written and a physical agility test. The physical test included 10 stations of firefighting activities, such as wearing fire gear while dragging a hose line and raising ladders. At one station, I carried a 3-inch hose wrapped around my shoulder and walked on a balance beam, a test of my balance. At another station, I dragged a rescue dummy, carried things up and down stairs and my air mask was blacked out to determine if I was claustrophobic. My fear of heights was tested by climbing up a seven-story ladder on the fire truck. We made a video for potential candidates to watch. It's 15 minutes.

Tribune: The heights didn't bother you?
Piittmann: It's not that bad; there's sides on the ladder. But the climb will definitely tell you if you're scared of heights. I don't necessarily like heights, but if I have to, I can do it.

Tribune: Are you glad you chose firefighting?
Piittmann: I love the job. It's very rewarding. If you like helping people and making a difference, this job is for you.

Tribune: Did you find any of the hazards giving you second thoughts?
Piittmann: No, not really, I just went for it. A lot of it comes down to the people you work with, too. It's a family here.

Tribune: How are you treated by the men that you work with because you are among the first few females?
Piittmann: I'm not the first. When I started, Jena Pepper was working here for 12 to 13 years as a lieutenant. She left to pursue other interests. I worked with her a year. One more woman was hired a year after me.
I've never had a problem with any of the guys. They've all treated me very well. There's a lot of horror stories I've heard, but none will come from me.

Tribune: What has been the biggest challenges you've encountered as a firefighter?
Piittmann: You never know what will happen every day. In past work, I was always my own boss; I worked by myself. So being part of a team here was a change.

Tribune: Are you adequately prepared for all that uncertainty?
Piittmann: We train constantly for all the possibilities. We do the medical calls as assists. We do extrications that the department took on shortly after I started six years ago.

Tribune: Are you required to stay in shape for the job?
Piittmann: Since I'm required to fulfill all the duties of the job and being a female without the upper body strength, I do work out more than some of the guys. I work out one hour a day at our facility here. We have a weight room and cardio equipment.

Tribune: What's an advantage being a female?
Piittmann: I've noticed on medical calls some seem to relate to a female better, just holding their hand sometimes. We (women) have the status of being the caregivers, nurturers.

Tribune: What would you say to women who might be thinking about firefighting?
Piittmann: We had a short gal who passed the physical test recently, and a lot of guys didn't pass it. When we give tours to children, we ask who would like to be a firefighter when they grow up. It would be nice if we'd hear little girls say yes. But we don't hear it as much as I would think.

©Ames Tribune 2005




March 23, 2005

Terri Shiavo is Being Murdered

 
It is apparent to me Terri Shiavo is being murdered by the justice system of Florida and the Federal District Court for the region. The ex-husband, yes EX husband appears to have ulterior motives. Rumor has it that he has been implicated in the "incident" that placed her in her current position. I heard today on Michael Savage's radio program that Michael Shiavo was awarded $700,000 in a malpractice lawsuit to be placed in trust for Terri's care. Her care has been less than first class as the poor woman has never even had an MRI to fully assess her condition.
Michael Shiavo is reported to have placed the "do not resuscitate" on her chart shortly after the settlement.
Is the ex-husband conflicted? I say yes. He has a common law wife and children by the new woman. Does anyone doubt his worst nightmare is for Terri to wake up? I do not understand the laws of Florida in this area. Who are these judges? Where is the Florida Legislature, where is Governor Bush? I am amazed and saddened. Saddened because it is clear the liberals in this country don't get it and will never get it. Life means less to them. Unborn children, disabled women matters not. You have to ask who are these people?
It is clear now in this country the line has been drawn. I know what side I am on, I know how I will teach my children. God help Terri Shiavo. God bless her parents and siblings. God help the judicial officers in Florida, they will need it because their souls are now condemned to a firey eternity.


More links:
http://www.armyofgod.org/archives/cat_terri_shiavo.html#000041
http://www.homestead.com/prosites-prs/index.html