Interview with Captain Porter
09, March, 2021
LSFD Public Affairs Consultant Krista J. Page, Ph.D.
What is a Fire Captain, and what do they do?
A Fire Captain is in charge of a crew of Firefighters in one fire station. There are seven fire stations around San Andreas. Fire Station One in Paleto Bay, Fire Station Two, also known as "HQ" in Rockford, Fire Station Three in Davis, Fire Station Four in Sandy Shores, Fire Station Five at Fort Zancudo, Fire Station Six at LSIA, and Fire Station Seven in El Burro Heights. Each fire station has different Fire Captains. Fire captains provide training, direction, supervision, and mentoring to help the Firefighters stay safe while on the job. Some even take dispatch when needed.
The Division of Public Relations recently sat down to interview Fire Captain I. Taylor Porter who is currently assigned to Fire Station One in Paleto Bay for an interview about her duties.
Captain Porter, could you please tell us about yourself?
"Well– As ya might already know, name's Taylor Porter. Started my life off all the way south. Dallas, Texas. Unlike a lotta people, I didn't imagine myself becomin' a Firefighter durin' my childhood and teenage years. It all happened rather spontaneously. Finished high school, and instead of... Either goin' to college or findin' a regular job, I ended up joinin' the United States Navy. Served four active years as a corpsman, out by when I was twenty-two. Then... My future just fell into place on its own. Havin' experienced what it's like to be a "life-saver" so to speak, I decided to give the fire academy a try once I got back to Dallas. That's how the ball started rollin', and I ended up where I am now."
For how many years have you been in the Fire Department, and what made you recruit?
"Started my journey off with Dallas Fire and Rescue after I finished the academy. Been 'bout eight years of servin' there until I decided to move on states to live somewhere new. San Andreas jus' so happened to be that spot. One lateral transfer request, I ended up with the Los Santos Fire Department. This was... A year and two months ago. As for what made me join? I spoke a bit about it in my previous answer, but– It's mainly due to how the cards of life fell into place. Previously a corpsman, bein' a firefighter didn't feel all too different. Besides havin' to learn the main aspect of firefighting, which's firefighting itself."
How did you get to where you are today?
"So– Becomin' a Fire Captain. It's a tedious task. It took a lot of trainin', but after eight years in the fire service, I felt more than ready to sign up. It takes a combination of things to end up in my, or other company officer positions a whole lot of dedication to the job, experience, commitment, and that good ol' natural leadership skill. I had, still have, all four of those qualities, and that's what got me to where I am today."
What was the most exciting scene you have responded to?
"Every scene we attend is exciting in its own right. So many different factors in each one, and only sometimes do the scenes we attend feel "mundane". However, if I had to pick one... It'd have to be this rescue we had in Mount Gordo a couple of months ago... Back in September of last year. We had a police officer stranded midway up the mountain. Numerous of our own ground units were deployed, including the USAR boys, as well as the Air Operations Division. It was a really manpower exhaustive situation. However– Fires broke out along the mountain, our Copter had to focus on aerial firefighting, leaving the air rescue aspect wide open, and that was the only way to reach the stranded officer. Now– I was off the clock around this time, just so happened to be in the company of a Sheriff's Department pilot. Once his pager went off, we both knew what to do. I didn't have any of my gear with me, so, throughout the entire rescue, I was dressed as a Sheriff's Deputy. Never thought I'd have to see myself in that kind of gear, heh. Nonetheless, I worked together with the ESD boys, and we pulled off a successful rescue in their air unit. The joy from that injured officer, upon bein' rescued– it was somethin' else. That's why I have to give this scene my number one spot."
What would you tell your Pre-Recruiting self?
"What got me to where I am today is the same dedication and commitment that I jus' spoke of. First thing's first, I'd tell my younger self to never forget these two qualities. Secondly– I'd tell my younger self that, this is going to be the best career you could ever ask for. The bonds you build with your colleagues, it's more akin to them being your second family. The things you experience on the job itself can be grueling, they can be amazing. This is the one job that'll truly change your life in so many different ways, and that's exactly what I'd tell my younger self."
What do you like the most about being a Fire Captain?
"Hmh– As I briefly mentioned earlier, I've always had this natural leadership in me. even before I became a Captain, I was always there for my colleagues. Whether it's lookin' out for them on a scene, sharin' my experience and knowledge, helpin' them reach their departmental goals, or helpin' them in their personal life if need be. It's not a secret that the entire department is a family, we look out for one another, but– Us Captains do our best to kick that care up a notch. That's what I like most bein' a Captain. Makin' sure my people are safe and full of good knowledge and skills on the job, and that their personal life is issue-free."
What do you do in a day as a Fire Captain?
"My day as a Fire Captain here, at Station One, is a tad different to Captains who work in the city, in full-time stations. Station One is considered to be a "mixed" station. We have career firefighters here, and we also have volunteers. However, on a typical day? I start my work-day in the office. I look over the day's agenda, see if I have any paperwork to attend to if we have any drills scheduled, things of the sort. I spend a good hour on the computer at the start of the day. Normally, a debrief with my firefighter would follow, but– Considerin' we work with volunteers here also, we may end up with several debriefs, talkin' about the same things, throughout the entire day. The reason for that is that they don't follow strict schedules as we full-timers do. They're only here to respond to calls or attend training sessions. Besides that– My day is no different from any other Fire Captain. I assign my people to their rigs, we run drills whenever we can, and of course, respond to calls. Primarily ones in our area, but we'll head into Battalion One's area if need the manpower."
What is the biggest mistake you learned from while being in the department?
"I can't say I've had the chance to witness myself making a big mistake, one that I would learn something out of and remember for the rest of my days, however, that's mostly due to the fact that... I am the kind of person to survey others, primarily those above me and learn from them. Whether it's their mistakes or their successes. I've learnt a lot from my fellow Company Officers, ones that I've worked alongside for a long, long time. Captain Steele and Captain Holland immediately come to mind as positive influences on me and the way I lead. Unfortunately, I've also had the chance to see poor leadership in action. Severy micromanagement, and all in the all bein' too hard on the people workin' under 'em. I've picked up things from both sides, the good and the bad, and developed my own way to lead. Assertive, but kind. Or in other words: firm but fair."