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Showing 1-10 of 25 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 42 reviews
on March 16, 2016
Brunacini begins this book with a description of the 1960’s fire that almost killed his father, a captain at the time, working a diner fire. They were making an interior attack and making good progress. The roof had been ventilated, the windows smashed to move the heat out, when the Battalion commander arrived. He loved to direct traffic so after ordering the arriving ladder trucks to pour water (8 tons a minute) on the fire from above, and without waiting to find out where the truck and engine companies were, he went off to direct traffic.

As we all know, heat rises and all that water forced the heat and smoke back down into the building and on to the firemen working below. In those days, breathing apparatus consisted of filters over the nose and mouth that would routinely get clogged with soot and debris which would then get wiped off and a modicum of breath could then be taken in. His partner pulled him out technically dead, no pulse. Fortunately an ambulance was on scene (this was one of the changes the almost dead fire captain made when he became chief -- have the fire department take on EMS responsibilities.) They stuck in an airway and got him revived on the way to the hospital. Nick’s father, Alan, became one of the best respected fire chiefs in the country making many changes. He was one of the first to study fire science and brought about numerous safety changes, this in a profession that was resistant to any kind of change. (Giving up horses to pull the wagons was a battle and for years captains insisted on washing the fire engines’ wheel before backing into the station as they formerly had been covered in manure.)

Firefighter have always been deeply conservative and resistant to change. In fact, the old saying goes that George Washington was head of a fire company and when he left to go somewhere told his deputy not to change anything. George then died before he returned and they refused to change anything since. There’s real competition to be the first on the nozzle since putting water on a fire is a real rush. Most calls are medical ones, often to the same lonely people with morphing ailments, so the firefighters often long for a good structure fire. <i>“Firefighters will search out and fight over a nozzle much like Bulls sniff out and fight over cows in heat. Bulls do it because their biology programs it into them ; firefighters exhibit these behaviors because at the very core, we are self-destructive adolescents”</i>

It’s an often humorous book but he often writes beautifully about the job. <i>"Each fire has its own personality. Most structure fires are hot and smoky with little to no visibility. You generally don't see much flame. If the immediate fire area is vertically ventilated before you actually find and extinguish the blaze, the smoke and heat rise up and away. This makes for a very beautiful fire. Sometimes you can see all the solid fuel vaporize into gas. Sofas, chairs, wallpaper, children's toys and everything else in the fire area retain their basic shapes, but their surfaces radiate an aura of transparent energy finished with a blue shy blush of flame. Nature is one serious bitch." </i> Especially when the water pressure from the hose disintegrates a burned body.

Very enjoyable read.
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on August 22, 2017
As a firefighter/paramedic of 35 years I thought it was good reading. He tells it like it is. I met Nick one day while visiting Phoenix (Station 30)and he is as funny in person as he is in his stories.
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on February 8, 2013
I love the fact that he plays up the B-Shift mythology in the title! As a die-hard C-Shifter, I can state for the record, that it's more truth than fiction that folks on Bravo Company were always a little different. And maybe he's right that the C-Shifters needed to loosen up a little LOL.

Nick B. comes from FD Royalty, but his workman ethic and drive to serve are universal and his pedigree doesn't seem to matter much - he's a Brother. Though it stands to reason that with swimming pools everywhere and the lack of mobile phones back in the day, so many child drownings happened. I had never put that in perspective about The City of Phoenix before. My hat's off to the men and women of PFD who experienced that tragedy too many times. The book is gritty, written by a fireman for other firemen, but it's down to earth enough for the general public to digest and understand the day in and day out lifestyle that is the fire service.
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on October 10, 2012
Finally a book that truly describes what I have been proud to say that I have been a part of for close to twenty eight years. This book best decribes the sane and not so sane inmates of an asylum I can proudly call my own. The stories are the same but only the names and community change. I could not put this book down but had to in order not to finish it to soon. I left it out in the station for others to read. I told them to pick it up and start reading at any point in the book they chose to. It put a big smile back on my face as I read the numerous relatable situations that are so unique to our profession. The stories of station life, personality conflicts, good and bad hearted bantering and what a fricken crazy career we share. This is finally the one you have to buy!
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on April 16, 2013
I am writing this review on my wife's account. This book feels like hearing the stories of an old salt that does the job for the love of doing it. I have worked the busy stations and worked with the difficult people that Nick describes (in another time and department). I have personally seen some of the things just like those that he has described. His appreciation for the little things that we see is what made this feel so right when reading it. This is genuine stuff here. I must say I truly am a B-shifter trapped on C-shift.
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on March 24, 2014
More of a memoir of different stories. More base language and situations than the columns. Nothing worse than day-to-day language and situations in my 20+ fire/rescue experience. Not family bedtime stories like Report from Engine Co 82. Caused several belly laughs, resulting in stares from my wife. Compared to Chief Bruncini's columns not as good as I remember. But definitely illustrates common themes encountered by our fire-rescue brethren from the recruit through staff level officer phases.
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on February 3, 2015
From the spic&span in the dishwasher to the handling of substandard officers, Brunacini describes the Bshift to a T. It's amazing how B shifters across the country are so similar.

A and C shifters beware, he describes you perfectly too... and you may not like it!
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on February 29, 2016
This was an excellent book. Nick's writing style is very humerus. I would recommencement this book to all firefighters and anyone who knows a firefighter.
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on November 12, 2016
B-Shifter.....what else is there in the fire life....certainly not A or C shift.... :-))))))
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on January 11, 2017
If you read about fire and firemen this belongs in your library.
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