LIMA — A few dim lights in the hallways and the truck bay are the only illumination at the Lima Fire Department’s Central Station at 2 a.m. At this point, there are no fires or medical calls for the firefighters to respond to, so almost the entire crew, 19 hours into their 24-hour shift, is asleep in their bunks.
“Nobody intentionally stays up,” battalion chief Greg Kirkendall said. “But I keep the radio and phone beside me, monitoring radio traffic.”
Although everyone is resting, they cannot afford to get into a very deep sleep, knowing they may be called upon at any moment to respond to an emergency.
“A night with no calls is rare,” Kirkendall said. “Typically there are at least one to three calls between midnight and 6 a.m. Even the quieter nights, you don’t sleep much, anticipating the next call coming in. You hear a noise, and you think it’s the start of a call coming in.”
On this night, however, everything remains quiet, with one ambulance sent on a medical run just after 4 a.m. The break allows Kirkendall to get some early work on reports, his ear constantly listening for that next call to action.