Striker Fire Engine Richard Hammond's Crash Course


Striker Fire Engine

The Striker fire engine is the most powerful in the world. Based at Dallas Fort Worth Airport, Hammond undergoes some gruelling training to be a fireman.


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Transcript


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This is an aircraft fire.

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These things can burn at up to 3,500 degrees.

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To tackle one of these,

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you need something a bit bigger than a normal fire truck.

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ENGINE ROARS

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I've driven just about every high-powered vehicle there is,

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but that was just for fun.

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The world's biggest, baddest vehicles are made to work.

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So now I've decided to travel across the United States

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to see if I can conquer the monsters of the work site.

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I'll have just three days to learn how to handle

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these complex and dangerous machines

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that normally take years of training to master.

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And in the end, we'll find out if I'm good enough to get the job done.

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This is the Striker.

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The most powerful fire engine in the world.

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It weighs the best part of 60 tonnes

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when fully laden with 4,500 gallons of water.

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It can do 75 miles an hour. All eight wheels are driven.

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It can go on road, it can go off-road.

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It has two water cannons that could fire up to 1,200 gallons a minute.

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But perhaps the most incredible thing of all about this machine

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is it's been designed and built so that it could be operated

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by just one person. My challenge - I have three days here

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at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport Fire Training And Research School

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to learn not just how to drive this thing,

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but how to use the firefighting equipment on board.

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And there will be a test.

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At the end of those three days, I have to prove that I can respond

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to an emergency call, drive it to an incident

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and use it to extinguish a burning airplane...

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all by myself.

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Wish me luck.

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-Lewis?

-Yes, sir.

-Hi, I'm Richard.

-Hey.

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-Can I come in?

-Come on in.

-Right. You're the driver?

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I'm driving. Yes, sir. This thing is awesome.

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-It is a beast on wheels.

-There's a lot of stuff here,

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-a lot of controls... What is everything?

-On the left side panel is this,

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your trip operation, where you start it up.

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Then I come over to my firefighting systems

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and flip the water switch on to turn the fire pumps on,

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which divides the power between the engine and the fire pump.

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So you've got driving the actual machine,

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-and just controlling the weight of the bulk of this thing, which is a specialised process.

-Yeah.

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Communications, firefighting in here.

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There's a lot of buttons and stuff.

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We're going to teach you to man the beast.

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We gotta get you ready. You're going to feel some power.

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We're going to test the speed of it to show you how it picks up.

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-It's in gear.

-It's in gear.

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-It's in gear, by the way, just so you know.

-Really?

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-Yeah, it's gone in.

-And that's a tour.

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60 tonnes of vehicle just went "Bing!" when it went into gear.

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Damn, this thing accelerates. Whoa!

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-It's hard to describe.

-Yes.

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But when you're on board, just from the passenger seat

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I'm aware of the mass, the weight of this thing. But when it springs away like that,

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it takes your breath away. It's like being in a big building

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-and it's suddenly, whoo, moving.

-Yes.

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I mean, if you got it wrong in this machine, you can get it,

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like, really wrong.

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Look, if you're not managing your vehicle

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or watching your speed and watching your centre of gravity,

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you could actually lose control of the vehicle.

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'That's a lovely thought.'

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The Striker is over 45 feet long,

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longer than a four-storey building is tall.

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And it weighs more than 60 tonnes. That's 11 Chevy Suburbans.

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Oh, and by the way, I've gotta learn how to drive it off-road, as well.

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Oh, this is amazing.

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This really, again, what I'm getting a sense of is incredible mass

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-and bulk.

-Yes.

-But it's acting like a ballet dancer.

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It's just in control of itself.

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'As soon as its wheels leave the pavement,

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'I get the sense that the Striker is really built for off-road.

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'In fact, it feels like a military all-terrain vehicle,

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'which isn't really surprising, considering it shares

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'its eight-wheel drive and TAK-4 independent suspension

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'with combat vehicles like the US Army's Hemmitt Personnel Carrier.'

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It's working in unison together like a dancer.

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That's a good example,

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like an NFL lineman or linebacker learning ballet.

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To learn how to use his body and get the most out of the strength.

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I can't describe it. It really is...

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watching the biggest football player you've ever seen in your life, yeah,

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ballet dance or play a violin. Staggered in the gear change and the ride in this.

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It's really comfortable. And that's not the idea!

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That's not what it's for, though, I know that. But...

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And again, just this little divot here,

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that's... It's just dropped 60 tonnes into a hole

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and held it together.

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-And all wheels work together.

-That is amazing.

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-Can we go around again? Take us round again.

-One more time.

-Going again.

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I don't know why I was even remotely surprised

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when the guys told me what I've got to do next,

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cos it's obvious when you think about it.

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Before I can learn to put out a fire using Striker,

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I've got to learn to do it the old-fashioned way with a hose.

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Basic firefighting techniques. Hence this. It's OK.

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Cos I know I look good. Yeah. I'm hot.

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Really hot. One degree hotter and there'll be chafing.

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And it won't be nice. You never chafe anywhere nice, do you?

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-Hello.

-Welcome!

-Thank you. What do I do now?

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We get to show you the other part of firefighting.

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This is one of the toughest things you can do.

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You're going to charge a line and advance it, which is a lot of work.

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-"Charge" means full of water, "advance" means I'm moving with a hose.

-Yes.

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-I'm a big man.

-Listen to me and learn how to dance with me,

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-this thing will be really smooth.

-Lewis, I'm dressed for dancing.

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-We're disco tech. We're good.

-Yeah. We are disco. We look good.

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-Give me some water.

-Water!

-Water's coming. Water.

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-NERVOUSLY:

-Ha-ha!

-Watch out.

-Here it comes.

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-Oh, these things are alive.

-Stand here and we'll explain this to you.

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The first thing is, you're going to grab your nozzle.

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You get this as much under your arm as you can.

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Yeah. Your arms are a lot bigger than my arms, Lewis!

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So you grab the handle here. And you're going to open this slowly.

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Slowly. And you'll feel the pressure.

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-Why do I get the distinct impression...

-Yeah.

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..that you're making something very difficult look easy?

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-I'm going to teach you how to do that.

-OK.

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So, look at my stance.

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Watch what happens when you work with me.

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I'm going to go left first.

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Watch me go to the left and to the right.

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He's working behind me, it's really easy. He's doing most of the work.

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-So he's holding the natural urge of the thing to push back.

-Yeah.

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Watch, I tell him I'll step to my left. Step!

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We'll start moving the line forward.

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Step!

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Just be light on your feet. And then I will work behind you.

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Now, it's your turn.

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-Your side, there.

-I'm scared. Yeah, there we go.

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OK. There you go. You feel that kick?

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Ooh, there it is. There it is.

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Oh-ho! Oh-ho! Oh-ho!

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I know real firefighters don't squeak as much as this

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when they're doing it but it's, ah, fierce!

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Can we...can we try a step? OK. Ah! Step!

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Yeah. That's, I can feel him pushing it. That's fantastic.

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So I'm going to go left. And I go right.

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And I go centre.

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And then I'm going to go step!

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Yeah. Cutting.

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What's the difference between doing this now

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and doing this in front of a real fire?

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When the fire's there, everything changes.

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It's really easy to look at it and be mesmerised and forget what you're doing.

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-So you get mesmerised by the fire.

-It's easy to do it.

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So, when the fire's there...

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you're trying to remain calm,

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-level-headed and do a job, respond to training.

-Yes.

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Whereas, at a human level, two things happen.

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Part of you is thinking, "Argh!" run away.

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Part of you is thinking, "Look at the pretty fire. I could look at that forever."

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No, but that's true. I've looked at campfires for ages.

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Part of me thinks, "Oh, I want to get out of here."

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Whereas, actually, cut all of that, somehow,

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-hunker down and concentrate.

-Yes.

-OK.

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-We're done with this part.

-Really?

-Let's go work in the pad.

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-So how do you feel?

-Terrified.

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Will we have any communication with each other?

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-Just yelling, at this point.

-That's basic, isn't it?

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-That's analogue, there.

-This means, "Help, get me out."

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I'm suddenly quite nervous and I wasn't.

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This will be my first real test to see

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if I can actually hold my weight as a member of Lewis' team.

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If I am ever going to prove myself worthy of the title "firefighter",

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I need to step up and actually fight a fire.

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-Way to go!

-OK.

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There is fire from the cab. All right.

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Assume the position. Move it up higher. OK.

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Please step forward! Rotate and adjust step.

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One, two, and three....

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Hey, change the pattern.

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-Left. To the right.

-This is a workout now.

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Now left.

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Got to be sure what it is.

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-Nice work!

-Yeah!

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-Good job.

-Thank you.

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Thanks for saving me. Thank you.

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That's great, sir.

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Thing is-thing is, with my job, I've done some stuff, some weird things.

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I've driven at 320 miles an hour in a rocket-propelled car,

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I've driven helicopters, jet fighters, Hueys, the lot.

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And I've had some buzzes. But that felt terrifying,

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but at an absolutely primal level, really wonderful.

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Your brain is telling you two things, there's fire,

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a lot of it, and there's other people around.

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And that throws up a whole lot of other...

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I don't want to do the wrong thing. I don't want to let them down.

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Are they going to help me?

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I can feel why you lot are locked together as a team.

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Thank you for a really unique experience.

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I'm really hot. I'm unbelievably hot!

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-Let's take this stuff off.

-Yeah? Can't we go in in trunks next time?

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I don't just want a shower now, it's a medical necessity.

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Seriously.

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I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now.

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I've just helped Lewis and his team put out an aircraft fire

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and I'm one step closer to my goal of qualifying to call myself

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a firefighter.

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So I think I deserve this slow-mo hero shot.

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Enjoy. I am.

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I'm here at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport,

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where I've set myself the challenge of learning how to operate

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the world's most powerful fire truck, the Striker.

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I have just three days to train before I face my final exam,

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where I'll have to extinguish a raging aircraft fire all by myself.

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If I can, then I will earn the right to call myself a firefighter.

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Now, before I can drive the Striker, I've been told

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I must pass the basic physical ability test

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that all firefighters must pass to prove they can do the job.

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Hence the heroic get-up. To be honest, I wasn't that worried.

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I know it involves that tower, and that's OK,

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but then they turned up with this.

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And what makes it worse is they've rolled it in really close,

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so obviously, whatever happens

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they're anticipating they need to be with me quickly.

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Confidence is waning a bit right now.

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-Hey, guys.

-Hey, good morning, Richard.

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Mike, you're Assistant Fire Chief round here,

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so you're the boss. What are we going to do?

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Well, today we're going to put you through the physical agility test.

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Right. Can I just... physical agility?

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The thing is, the Striker's got power steering

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and assisted brakes, and it's not that physical a thing.

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I don't need to be strong to drive it.

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No, absolutely. But in order to get to the position of being a driver,

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you have to be able to get through being a firefighter first.

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-Right. So that's what we're doing today.

-Yes.

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We're going to have Jenn Vegors, one of our firefighters.

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-Hiya.

-She'll demonstrate the course.

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And then you're going to challenge her time on the course.

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-Right, so this is you and me head-to-head?

-You got it.

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-Don't be intimidated, I'll go easy.

-OK, thanks.

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-Are you ready?

-I'm not worried.

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Is Jenn really good at this?

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Jenn is actually just a very good firefighter.

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I think that she'll do fine. She's a good representation of what we do.

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-So, Jenn, are you ready?

-Yup.

-All right, go.

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Go! She's off.

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She's just going to pick that up? That's...

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That looks heavy straightaway.

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This is just a couple sections of hose. She's going to drop it.

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This next event she's going to do, this is just a strength move.

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She's going to hand-over-hand this rope.

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She's going to take it up over rail, set it on the ground.

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So this is all about the kind of general physical ability,

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-physicality that you'd need as a firefighter?

-Yeah.

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This is all about the physical strength aspect of this and she's...

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She's off again. Where's she going now?

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She's going to go back, she's going to pick up the hose,

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and then she's going to come back down the stairs again,

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come over to where the gear is and she'll put her bunker gear on.

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This is one of our requirements that we have.

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We have two minutes to come out, put the gear on.

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This is the fire protection gear.

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This is what's going to put you in the fire environment. No mistakes on this.

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-This is before you go to work, you put this on?

-Absolutely.

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It's not the best day for that, is it?

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-No, it's...

-It's quite warm.

-No. Another hot 100-degree day here.

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-Then she's doing...

-Oh, that's just...

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-She throws it over the head.

-That's just...showing off.

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She'll snap it up.

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When I do this, it's going to look pretty much the same.

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-It should look identical.

-Yeah.

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And then she's going to come over to the sled here.

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And again, this is another test of a little bit of strength.

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And this is about momentum. She's going to knock this pad back.

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She's going to ruin it!

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-Very good.

-Well done.

-Well done.

-That was good.

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-Thanks.

-Good job.

-And?

-Her time...3.16.

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Is that good, is that OK? Is that...

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That's a good time. You're going to be challenged a little bit on that.

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You're barely out of breath, it's ridiculous. OK, fine. I'm ready.

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-Are you ready to go?

-Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

-Any questions?

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Many, many questions. But I'm just going to start.

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Right. Don't start yet, I'm not ready yet. Don't start!

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'Well, I'm up. And it's important to remember that if I don't

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'finish this course in under the maximum course time of six minutes,

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'I will not be allowed to drive the Striker.

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'It should also be noted that it's 110 bloody degrees here in Dallas.

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'So I'm either going to qualify to drive the Striker

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'or die of heat exhaustion trying, which is a distinct possibility.'

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Look at those guys waiting like vultures, look!

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They're just waiting for me to have a heart attack.

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-All right, ready?

-No. Yeah.

-Go!

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Oh, God. That's heavy, that's really heavy!

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-That's really heavy!

-HE LAUGHS

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HE GRUNTS

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-Right. Heavy!

-First time on stairs, huh?

-Heavy, heavy.

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-You're safe. Already I think I can say that.

-What?!

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Oh, high! I'm high up, I'm high up now.

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There you go, just hand-over-hand.

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It's heavy!

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Really heavy. Now what?

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Lift it over the rail. This was an easy part for Jenn.

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-Then put it back, yeah?

-Yes. And then again, hand-over-hand.

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-You cannot drop it all the way down.

-Do not drop it. Right-oh!

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There you go.

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Got my foot caught in the rope. That's a bad thing, isn't it?

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There you go. Back to the hose.

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Over the shoulder and back down the stairs.

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HE STRUGGLES

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Heavy, heavy, heavy! Rescuing the hose, saving the hose.

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-All right, drop it.

-You're saved.

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All right. Now come and do the gear. Hood on first.

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-Is that the hood?

-Yeah, there you go.

0:16:280:16:29

No, that's backwards. Not got the hood on.

0:16:290:16:32

It's on.

0:16:320:16:34

And I just step in, yeah? Oh, nice!

0:16:340:16:36

What...thank you for that. Nice. Yeah.

0:16:360:16:40

Yeah... Agh.

0:16:400:16:42

It's really unpleasant!

0:16:420:16:44

THEY LAUGH

0:16:440:16:45

That's all the shower you get today.

0:16:450:16:47

That's deeply unpleasant.

0:16:470:16:50

Oh, it's all really lovely and wet!

0:16:500:16:52

-There.

-All right. Got your pack?

-This?

0:16:520:16:56

Just go air pack.

0:16:560:16:57

-This thing?

-Yup.

-There you go.

0:16:570:16:59

PACK LETS OUT AIR

0:16:590:17:01

-Is that a bad thing I've done there?

-It is.

-OK.

0:17:010:17:04

A little troubleshooting has to take place, but we're good.

0:17:040:17:07

Very good.

0:17:090:17:11

OK. All slippery.

0:17:110:17:15

Go ahead. Strike it about mid-range.

0:17:150:17:17

Really hurt my... Oh.

0:17:220:17:25

-Yes.

-There you go.

-Done.

-Done! Done.

0:17:250:17:30

Nice job.

0:17:300:17:32

What was my time?

0:17:320:17:35

5.45.

0:17:350:17:36

-Yeah, yeah!

-Good.

-I did that for everyone at home...

0:17:360:17:40

And one thing I want to remind you, though, you know this was

0:17:400:17:43

a very abbreviated course of what you really would have to go through.

0:17:430:17:46

-Is it?

-There's a half-mile run and about three other things

0:17:460:17:50

that we skipped just to make this more acceptable for you.

0:17:500:17:53

You let me do the hard bits, right?

0:17:530:17:54

-No, we pretty much limited it to things we thought you could do.

-OK.

0:17:540:17:58

Can I drive the Striker now? Come on.

0:17:580:18:01

Come on. Let me drive the truck.

0:18:010:18:03

-We'll let you drive it.

-It's been worth it!

0:18:030:18:05

Can anybody help me out of this stuff?

0:18:050:18:07

All right. Let's us help you out of here.

0:18:070:18:09

Now, Lewis, when we go for a ride this time...

0:18:160:18:19

There's no nice way of putting this.

0:18:190:18:21

Can I drive, please? Please, please, please.

0:18:210:18:24

-You want to drive?

-Yes. Please.

-Um, you...

0:18:240:18:27

I'm on the right side!

0:18:270:18:28

You can, you can, you... Yeah.

0:18:280:18:31

Yeah. I won't, I won't hurt it, I promise. I'll try not to.

0:18:310:18:35

This can only go well. Right. Wish me luck.

0:18:350:18:37

Straight away, I can stand up in the cab, I like that.

0:18:370:18:42

And I'm a big man, I need some room.

0:18:420:18:44

You know, filling it up. Right, I'm in.

0:18:440:18:47

Seat belts? OK, seat belt on.

0:18:470:18:51

OK...

0:18:510:18:53

Right, well, er...

0:18:530:18:55

-You see this sign to the right there that's mangled?

-No.

0:18:550:18:59

We had a class and someone came through the gate

0:18:590:19:03

and they were going to the left and made a hard left.

0:19:030:19:06

That sign's not there any more, is it?

0:19:060:19:09

Remember I told you, you overcompensate.

0:19:090:19:11

-Lewis, stop scaring me...

-We're going to go out this gate,

0:19:110:19:14

go to the left down the emergency road.

0:19:140:19:16

And you're going to show me that you can man this beast.

0:19:160:19:20

Yeah(!)

0:19:200:19:22

It just feels at all times ready to leap away.

0:19:220:19:25

It's so willing and ready.

0:19:250:19:28

Taking a left.

0:19:280:19:30

ENGINE WHIRS

0:19:300:19:32

There, it's that surge, that mid surge! From, literally, 750 rpm.

0:19:320:19:38

Out of nowhere and then it...

0:19:380:19:40

We're taught to drive in the centre on these roads.

0:19:400:19:42

The trucks are so heavy, they'll destroy the edges of the road

0:19:420:19:46

if you drive normally. You're a natural, driving down the centre of the road.

0:19:460:19:50

I'll be honest, I'm driving down the centre

0:19:500:19:52

because I figured that way I won't fall off it!

0:19:520:19:54

It wasn't because I was worried about wearing the road out!

0:19:540:19:58

See ya!

0:19:590:20:01

We're tracking down the emergency road but we're right behind a plane.

0:20:020:20:06

That's what you'd be doing

0:20:060:20:07

if you have an aircraft emergency. The acceleration is very important.

0:20:070:20:10

We're going to make a right up here at the end of the course. Yeah.

0:20:100:20:14

Whoa... I'm holding that on the brake.

0:20:140:20:16

Do I hold that on the gears or are the brakes up to the job, let them do it?

0:20:160:20:20

Well, what you want to do is take advantage of your terrain.

0:20:200:20:23

So if it's downhill, let the gravity do the work

0:20:230:20:27

and then use acceleration uphill.

0:20:270:20:30

It starts talking to you if you get too, uh, too much...

0:20:300:20:32

-When you say talking, you mean shouting?

-Yeah, shouting.

0:20:320:20:36

Make ugly vulgar noises. THEY LAUGH

0:20:360:20:38

-Kids, if you're watching, it is this exciting.

-Don't do this at home!

0:20:380:20:43

Don't do this at home!

0:20:430:20:44

Who's got one of these at home?!

0:20:440:20:47

Well, it would seem I'm doing pretty well

0:20:520:20:54

because they've already assigned me

0:20:540:20:56

my first official task as a fireman, told to report here to the bay.

0:20:560:21:00

And, well, what it is, I've got to clean the truck.

0:21:000:21:04

What's bothering me

0:21:040:21:06

is this is quite a small bucket for what is clearly an enormous truck.

0:21:060:21:10

(But I suspect it's like a test.)

0:21:100:21:12

I'm not going to disappoint. It can't hurt it doing this, can I?

0:21:120:21:15

-No, no.

-I've got to rub it. I don't want to...

0:21:150:21:18

-Well, if you do, they'll send you a bill. It's no big deal.

-OK.

0:21:180:21:21

-All the way to the top.

-I can reach.

-You can?

-Yeah.

0:21:210:21:24

-All right.

-Look, you see... Yeah, no problem.

0:21:240:21:27

Now, Scottie, I know why I'm cleaning the truck today,

0:21:300:21:32

-cos I'm the new guy.

-OK. Why are you doing it with me?

0:21:320:21:37

I'm the new guy, too. Yeah.

0:21:370:21:39

-You're not really a new guy, though, are you?

-Really a new guy.

0:21:390:21:42

-Yeah, a rookie.

-Are you?

-Yeah.

0:21:420:21:45

So when did you start this, then?

0:21:450:21:47

I started this about a year and a half ago. Yeah.

0:21:470:21:50

This isn't your first job?

0:21:500:21:52

-Um, no.

-No.

-No.

0:21:520:21:55

-Why? Why so late?

-Just something that I always wanted to do.

0:21:550:21:58

An opportunity presented itself, I thought I was probably,

0:21:580:22:01

as you're surprised, too old.

0:22:010:22:02

And once I found out that I wasn't, then I started pursuing it

0:22:020:22:06

-and it worked out. Here I am.

-You always wanted this.

-Absolutely.

0:22:060:22:09

-You followed other careers.

-Yeah.

0:22:090:22:10

-What were you doing before this?

-I was in marketing.

0:22:100:22:13

-That's quite a contrast.

-Yeah, a little bit.

0:22:130:22:16

Marketing to this. And you've not regretted it.

0:22:160:22:18

Oh, absolutely not.

0:22:180:22:19

Even though you're standing next to me cleaning the truck.

0:22:190:22:22

I could be cleaning the truck myself, so standing next to you is not bad.

0:22:220:22:25

I just want to quickly ask.

0:22:250:22:27

It's not on the Striker, but next to the Striker is this,

0:22:270:22:30

-which is the big ladder.

-Right.

0:22:300:22:32

-Now...

-HE CLEARS THROAT

0:22:320:22:34

You see, it's all chromed.

0:22:340:22:37

-Mm-hmm.

-It's not strictly necessary, is it?

0:22:370:22:40

-Is that the image?

-The chrome?

-This is about image, isn't it? All this stuff.

0:22:400:22:44

-It's beautiful.

-A lot of what we do is about image to the general public

0:22:440:22:48

because, you know, we're the protectors, we're the savers,

0:22:480:22:51

we're put on a very high pedestal, respected.

0:22:510:22:53

The first time I put the uniform on and went in public, it's amazing,

0:22:530:22:57

the respect that you just immediately command.

0:22:570:23:00

-And that's pride. There's nothing wrong in that...

-No.

0:23:000:23:02

-Proud of your team, job.

-Absolutely.

0:23:020:23:05

Meanwhile, we've got a massive truck to clean.

0:23:050:23:08

I was only trying to kill time just to...

0:23:080:23:10

Yeah. Well, let's see if maybe it cleaned itself(!)

0:23:100:23:13

It's day two of my training in operating the Striker.

0:23:150:23:18

So far, I've used hand-held attack lines, hoses.

0:23:180:23:22

Today, I get to grips with the big one, the water cannons.

0:23:220:23:26

'Mastering the water cannon is an absolute must

0:23:260:23:29

'if I'm going to pass my final exam

0:23:290:23:31

'and qualify to call myself a firefighter.'

0:23:310:23:34

This is a standard-issue fire hose. These guys call it an attack line.

0:23:340:23:38

It puts out water at a rate of 125 gallons a minute.

0:23:380:23:41

Pretty powerful. It takes some hanging on to.

0:23:410:23:44

But the Striker's water cannon puts out water at 1,200 gallons a minute.

0:23:440:23:49

Now those are amazing numbers, but they are just numbers.

0:23:490:23:52

To get your head round what they really mean, we need a visual,

0:23:520:23:55

graphic demonstration of the difference in power.

0:23:550:23:58

And I've got one.

0:23:580:24:00

Here it is. It's my own version of the classic carnival game,

0:24:000:24:03

shoot water into the clown's mouth to inflate the balloon until it bursts. To show how it works,

0:24:030:24:08

Rob, shoot water into the clown's mask, hit the target.

0:24:080:24:11

Now, as it hits target, the more he pushes it,

0:24:110:24:14

the more helium is released into the balloon.

0:24:140:24:16

If you stop now, cos I've just realised I've given you

0:24:160:24:19

quite a head start there.

0:24:190:24:20

The harder you hit the target, the more helium is released

0:24:200:24:23

into the balloon, so the most powerful source of water wins.

0:24:230:24:25

It is, well, frankly, brilliant. And I thought of it.

0:24:250:24:29

-I think we're about ready to do this. I am, are you?

-Absolutely.

0:24:290:24:33

Good. How long have you been running hoses?

0:24:330:24:35

-Been a firefighter almost ten years now.

-Ever done this before?

-Uh, this'll be my first time.

0:24:350:24:40

OK. Well, this is our graphic illustration

0:24:400:24:42

of the difference in power between the attack line,

0:24:420:24:44

and the Striker's water cannon. Are we ready? You want to get ready.

0:24:440:24:48

-Absolutely.

-Is this going to blow you backwards or...

-No, no, I'm good.

0:24:480:24:51

Strapping man like you. You'll be all right. I'd be over there.

0:24:510:24:54

OK, if we're ready. Are you ready, Jenn? Ready? Good. OK.

0:24:540:24:57

If we're ready...

0:24:570:24:59

let's go! Oh...

0:24:590:25:02

Rob! Rob, Rob, it's all right.

0:25:020:25:05

It's all right, kill it. Man, it's OK. Don't worry.

0:25:050:25:08

It's... Yeah, that all went wrong.

0:25:080:25:12

Clearly...

0:25:120:25:14

It didn't... It's really powerful. Isn't it powerful?

0:25:150:25:18

-What are you going to do?

-Isn't it powerful?

-It is incredible.

0:25:180:25:21

In retrospect, our clown never had a chance.

0:25:210:25:25

The four-inch nozzle of the Striker shoots out 160 pounds of water

0:25:250:25:29

per second at a speed of almost 55 miles-an-hour.

0:25:290:25:33

With that much force at close range,

0:25:330:25:36

the Striker's water cannon can tear the pavement from a road,

0:25:360:25:39

break through the wall of a house or kill a man.

0:25:390:25:42

Or a clown.

0:25:420:25:44

The whole point of mounting a water cannon on a super-fast truck

0:25:480:25:51

is that you can use the thing on the move.

0:25:510:25:53

That way, the water can arrive at the fire technically before you do.

0:25:530:25:57

But that's going to raise its own particular challenges.

0:25:570:26:00

It'll need practice, so they've set up this test for me.

0:26:000:26:03

I have to drive past on the truck and use the water cannon

0:26:030:26:05

to knock these balls off the top of these cones,

0:26:050:26:08

ideally without knocking the cones over.

0:26:080:26:10

So that's an immensely powerful water cannon

0:26:100:26:13

and tiny little cones and tiny targets.

0:26:130:26:16

Basically, it's a drive-by with the world's biggest water pistol.

0:26:160:26:20

Piece of cake(!)

0:26:200:26:22

Using the water cannon is something

0:26:250:26:27

to which I suspect there is something of a knack,

0:26:270:26:30

-and firefighter Jenn is going to teach me how to do it.

-Right.

0:26:300:26:32

-Is it really hard? Take me through it.

-This is our main turret,

0:26:320:26:36

the bumper turret.

0:26:360:26:38

You have... I'm sure you're familiar with the joystick... You can...

0:26:380:26:42

-What do you mean by that?

-You can adjust it however you want.

0:26:420:26:47

There's two ways to get water out.

0:26:470:26:48

You can either pull the trigger just like a gun, or hit discharge on.

0:26:480:26:52

-So, that'll stay on until you actually hit the button to turn it off.

-Yeah.

0:26:520:26:56

And just...let it go.

0:26:560:26:59

So, that is 1,200 gallons-a-minute and it reaches 240 feet.

0:26:590:27:05

Wow!

0:27:050:27:06

So we have five cones lined up with balls on top of them.

0:27:060:27:09

I will hit the first one for you, show you how to do it.

0:27:090:27:12

-And you can do the rest.

-OK. Go on.

0:27:120:27:15

The ball's got to come off, the cone's got to stay up.

0:27:150:27:17

-Right. That's the idea.

-Fire away. Go on, in your own time.

0:27:170:27:20

It's not something you can probably hit directly.

0:27:220:27:25

When you're shooting

0:27:250:27:27

the water is in the way. It's difficult to see if you're hitting your target or not.

0:27:270:27:32

So it helps to do a little from this side, that way you can see.

0:27:320:27:35

Ah... It's gone.

0:27:370:27:39

All right then. Make it...make it look easy. Thank you. I'm so confident(!)

0:27:390:27:43

You wouldn't believe it. Really!

0:27:430:27:45

OK. OK.

0:27:470:27:48

-Water pump going on.

-Go on.

0:27:480:27:52

-Oh... Yeah.

-There you go.

-Right and here we go. Ooh.

0:27:520:27:56

-Take your time.

-Yeah.

0:28:050:28:06

I got one! Come on!

0:28:080:28:10

-Oh...

-That's just... Hang on!

0:28:120:28:16

What I would do customarily in this sort of situation

0:28:210:28:23

is turn that off and run away. Running away. Running away.

0:28:230:28:27

I mean, who's going to stop me? I'm in 60 tonnes of fire truck.

0:28:270:28:30

I'll be fine. Run away for shame.

0:28:300:28:34

'Right, so Jenn has given a perfect demonstration

0:28:340:28:36

'of how an expert can wheel the Striker's water cannon with precision.

0:28:360:28:40

'And I've given a perfect demonstration

0:28:400:28:42

'of how a hapless buffoon might wield it.

0:28:420:28:45

'So, that's done. I think I shall try to pass the test for real.'

0:28:450:28:49

Oh, that was... Jenn, can I try again? Please?

0:28:490:28:53

-Please give me another go.

-You think you can do better?

0:28:530:28:55

Yeah, I... I was distracted.

0:28:550:28:58

-I had something in my eye here, quite bad.

-OK.

0:28:580:29:02

Oh, I'm not going to do... I'll do it with this.

0:29:060:29:08

Really close.

0:29:130:29:15

-Oh, there you go. Oh!

-They're just blowing off now! What is that?

0:29:200:29:24

-Yes! Come on, that was good.

-Totally the wind.

-What?!

0:29:240:29:27

You know, Texas wind is pretty strong around here.

0:29:270:29:29

-That totally was not, that was me!

-Actually...

-Just say well done.

0:29:290:29:32

I think the last cone got scared of that water coming at it and it jumped off.

0:29:320:29:37

-Just say I did, I did all right.

-You did all right. You did.

0:29:370:29:40

And it wasn't wind.

0:29:400:29:42

-And you...

-Yeah.

-The cones... and the balls got off the cones.

0:29:420:29:48

-However it happens!

-Fell over.

-All right, fair enough.

0:29:480:29:52

Well, at least we're on time.

0:29:540:29:56

That went well.

0:29:560:29:58

Day three for me in Dallas, where I've set myself the challenge of learning to operate

0:30:030:30:08

the world's powerful fire truck, the Striker.

0:30:080:30:11

And if, after just three days of training,

0:30:110:30:13

I can successfully use it to put out an aircraft fire all by myself,

0:30:130:30:18

I'll earn the right to call myself a firefighter.

0:30:180:30:21

What they've lined up for me now

0:30:210:30:23

is like a last test before the final exam.

0:30:230:30:25

This is a last chance to pull together all the skills

0:30:250:30:28

I've acquired so far. Here's what's going to happen.

0:30:280:30:30

I set off in the Striker, sweep round there,

0:30:300:30:32

stop, use the water cannon to push one of those barrels,

0:30:320:30:36

just one, across that line. Push. It mustn't fall over,

0:30:360:30:39

so it's about precision. I set off again,

0:30:390:30:42

then I go around the slalom,

0:30:420:30:43

run that through the cones all the way round the back.

0:30:430:30:46

Sweep round here, on top of that aeroplane. Three cones,

0:30:460:30:49

using the water cannon to knock them off, again, precision stuff,

0:30:490:30:52

just pick them off. Then I stop here.

0:30:520:30:54

There's something I haven't mentioned yet. This is critical.

0:30:540:30:57

The very first thing to happen just as I set off is,

0:30:570:31:00

the guys would've, well, set fire to that minivan.

0:31:000:31:04

Yeah, you've guessed it.

0:31:040:31:05

It's all about, can I get around the obstacle course quickly enough

0:31:050:31:08

to save the minivan from burning to the ground?

0:31:080:31:11

If you think about it, it's kind of win-win, cos...

0:31:110:31:13

Well, if I do well and I'm quick, I park up, put the minivan fire out,

0:31:130:31:17

the minivan's saved. Hooray!

0:31:170:31:19

If I do badly and it takes a long time, the minivan's destroyed.

0:31:190:31:23

Hooray! Everybody's happy.

0:31:230:31:26

Right. Let's do it.

0:31:260:31:27

Right. Well, in that case, we're ready to go.

0:31:290:31:31

Let's have the handbrake off.

0:31:310:31:34

Let's have it in gear. And let's have water on.

0:31:340:31:38

Ready to go. Right. I'm ready to go, sir.

0:31:380:31:41

-Are you ready?

-Yeah, I'm ready to go.

0:31:410:31:45

Light it off.

0:31:450:31:46

Oh, yeah. You've got to light the fire. Oh, It's lit! OK.

0:31:460:31:49

The fire has begun. I'm needed now in my capacity as firefighter.

0:31:490:31:54

-You're a firefighter. Start moving.

-Start there. OK.

0:31:540:31:57

Let's stop the truck.

0:31:570:31:59

Oh, that's higher than I expected. That's gone, that's gone.

0:32:010:32:04

Hold it, hold it. What you got, what you got. Raise it. Raise it.

0:32:040:32:09

You're doing great. Keep it up. Just a hair, raise it just a hair.

0:32:090:32:13

Push it, push it, push it, push it.

0:32:170:32:19

Come on. Come on, move!

0:32:190:32:22

-You're there.

-Am I there?

-Yes, you're there.

0:32:250:32:27

That's it? Right, let's move. Let's have the water.

0:32:270:32:30

I can leave that where it is, have this in drive.

0:32:300:32:33

-Oh, I need my water off. I'm not panicking!

-Serpentine, serpentine. Let's go.

0:32:330:32:36

Now I've got to get round this pole here?

0:32:360:32:39

-Yes.

-So that's a big, wide swing.

0:32:390:32:41

Let's not get carried away with speed here.

0:32:410:32:44

I'm feeling the pressure. How's the fire going, Lewis?

0:32:440:32:47

The fire's starting to build, starting to build.

0:32:470:32:49

-Yeah? Well, it will.

-Get into the serpentine.

-Yep. So...

0:32:490:32:52

The first cone in the right mirror.

0:32:520:32:54

Yeah. I've got it. Ooh, that's close.

0:32:540:32:57

Ooh, that was close. Oh.

0:32:570:33:00

Inches!

0:33:000:33:01

Oh, man. That's good.

0:33:010:33:03

-Ooh, just missing that one.

-That's right. You found that,

0:33:030:33:05

found it in your rear mirror and serpentined nicely.

0:33:050:33:10

-Missing it....

-Find them in the right mirror. You're looking good.

0:33:100:33:14

OK, now let's turn here.

0:33:140:33:15

-Serpentine, work this truck.

-Yes, yes.

0:33:150:33:18

Watch your rear wheel on the right.

0:33:180:33:20

I've got it, just missing it. I see it. There you go.

0:33:200:33:23

Now I've got to go round this last cone.

0:33:230:33:25

Round the cone to the left, to the left, to the left.

0:33:250:33:29

Get your fire pump started, get your stream goin'. Click it to go.

0:33:290:33:34

Knock those cones off. Get to them. Get... Knock them down.

0:33:340:33:38

You've got one left.

0:33:410:33:44

-That's got to have dropped.

-It's gone.

-Right.

-Love it.

0:33:470:33:50

Let's have this back in drive. handbrake is off.

0:33:500:33:53

Sorry. So, now I can... When do I start on the car? Now?

0:33:530:33:57

You want to blow the window out, so go as close as you can.

0:33:570:34:01

Keep driving. Go into it. You're doing a great job.

0:34:010:34:04

Get up, get into the window.

0:34:040:34:08

-Hold it. Right there.

-So now I'm just flooding the car.

0:34:080:34:12

I'm actually using it to put a fire out. This is what it does.

0:34:120:34:15

It's now doing what it was built to do.

0:34:150:34:17

-That feels amazing.

-Knock out the front window. Go to the right.

0:34:170:34:20

-So actually using power of the hose to knock the windows through, is that what we're doing?

-Yes.

0:34:200:34:25

Move forward. Move forward.

0:34:250:34:28

-Is it out? Is it out?

-Knock it out.

0:34:280:34:31

-Ow! Right, let's get out. Let's do it.

-All right.

0:34:310:34:33

-LEWIS LAUGHS

-So, what do you think?

0:34:410:34:46

To be fair, most of that will polish out, I reckon.

0:34:460:34:48

-Yes.

-One weekend, you'd have that back up and running.

0:34:480:34:51

So, all in all, am I ready now for my exam?

0:34:510:34:54

-You didn't wreck the truck.

-No, I didn't. I didn't.

0:34:540:34:56

-You didn't knock over any cones.

-I got through that.

0:34:560:34:59

-You pushed the barrels.

-Yeah, I did all right.

0:34:590:35:01

That takes a lot of accuracy. I mean, your first time.

0:35:010:35:04

The only thing is technically that minivan is still on fire.

0:35:040:35:07

How much water have I just put on there?

0:35:100:35:12

-Almost 4,500 gallons.

-So 4,500 gallons of water.

0:35:120:35:16

I just emptied your tank into it and...yeah.

0:35:160:35:19

-Let's get out the smoke.

-Smoking!

0:35:190:35:21

This is one of those rare vehicles I'm going to miss, though.

0:35:260:35:29

-You're going to miss?

-Yeah, I am. I don't know why.

0:35:290:35:32

I just think there's something particularly appealing about it.

0:35:320:35:35

It's a great thing to operate.

0:35:350:35:37

One thing about this vehicle... Turn the water off.

0:35:370:35:40

Turn the pump off.

0:35:400:35:42

-Now pull the trigger, and see that?

-No. What happened?

0:35:420:35:44

That is fantastic.

0:35:510:35:52

Going into my final exam, I'm feeling pretty confident.

0:35:570:36:01

I've mastered driving the Striker

0:36:010:36:03

and my aim with the water cannon has proved impeccable.

0:36:030:36:06

Right now, really my only weakness is my complete inability

0:36:060:36:10

to actually put out a fire.

0:36:100:36:12

So, I passed my physical fitness test...

0:36:190:36:21

just. Completed the obstacle course...barely.

0:36:210:36:25

All that's remaining for me now is my final exam.

0:36:250:36:29

Which means at some point from now on, an alarm is going to sound.

0:36:290:36:32

At that time, I must stop whatever I'm doing, rush out, suit up,

0:36:320:36:36

jump in the Striker, respond to the incident

0:36:360:36:38

and extinguish an aircraft fire, all by myself

0:36:380:36:41

and all within four minutes.

0:36:410:36:44

And then, and only then

0:36:440:36:45

will I earn the right to call myself a firefighter.

0:36:450:36:48

The thing is, just like a real firefighter,

0:36:480:36:50

I don't know when the emergency is going to happen,

0:36:500:36:53

so I've just got to wait.

0:36:530:36:55

A TV montage would help pass the time.

0:36:550:36:58

Who usually cooks then, seriously?

0:37:310:37:35

Do you have a usual cook here or do you just break it up between you?

0:37:350:37:38

-I usually do.

-Do you?

-I do.

0:37:380:37:41

-So you are the chef.

-Yes.

0:37:410:37:43

Or chefette. Right.

0:37:430:37:45

-If I start a fire in the fire house, that's a bad thing.

-Yeah.

0:37:450:37:50

Well, what I'm going to make for you guys tonight, shepherd's pie.

0:37:500:37:53

I am pretty much known in the UK for my cooking before anything else.

0:37:530:37:57

-Man, I'm hungry.

-Yay!

-Yeah.

0:37:590:38:02

Ta-dah! It's not the most visually compelling of dishes.

0:38:020:38:05

Oh, but it is...

0:38:050:38:07

It smells really good. It tastes good.

0:38:080:38:11

It's supposed to have Worcester sauce in it, but I couldn't find any.

0:38:140:38:17

What do you think, Chief?

0:38:170:38:20

I'm hoping that his training went a lot better than his food preparation.

0:38:200:38:24

THEY LAUGH

0:38:240:38:25

EMERGENCY CALL

0:38:250:38:28

-You got to go.

-OK, very good.

0:38:290:38:32

-So this is a drill of some sort?

-Mm-hm.

0:38:320:38:35

Right, I think I know what's happening here.

0:38:370:38:39

I think I know what's going on. OK, let's not panic.

0:38:390:38:41

This is my final exam, which means

0:38:410:38:44

I've got four minutes to get all this kit on,

0:38:440:38:46

get in the Striker

0:38:460:38:48

and get out to the fire pit and put out a burning plane.

0:38:480:38:52

Nice boots, James Bond!

0:38:520:38:53

God, I need some quicker-release boots than this, this is ridiculous.

0:38:530:38:58

I haven't thought this through, have I? Right, they're off. Get these on.

0:38:580:39:02

Oh, why is the zip on the other side? That's just impossible.

0:39:080:39:11

That goes on.... Let's go.

0:39:110:39:13

Right. Seatbelt's got to go on.

0:39:130:39:16

Regulations. Can't do that now, let's just think this through, don't panic.

0:39:160:39:20

Er... Er, yeah. That's ready to go,

0:39:200:39:23

everything else is off. Start.

0:39:230:39:25

Parking brake off. Into drive, check rear mirrors...

0:39:250:39:29

All right. All right,

0:39:290:39:31

don't panic, don't panic. If you dent the machine now, you're completely finished.

0:39:310:39:35

I think he is liking the Striker.

0:39:390:39:41

-Yeah, he's flooring it.

-Yeah!

0:39:410:39:43

OK, I'm out the station.

0:39:430:39:45

I'm suited and booted.

0:39:450:39:47

I can see the flames are over there, time is ticking.

0:39:470:39:51

Come on!

0:39:510:39:52

This thing does move, but you know what, for the first time,

0:39:520:39:55

it doesn't feel fast enough!

0:39:550:39:57

I'm behind time already.

0:39:570:39:59

Right, let's get that out, let's have my water on.

0:39:590:40:03

Don't forget the punch. I'm getting the nozzle out, ready to start firing.

0:40:030:40:07

Let's put that in a neutral position now.

0:40:070:40:09

There we go, water going on.

0:40:090:40:13

I am fighting a fire!

0:40:130:40:14

I could've been here quicker, I am behind already.

0:40:140:40:19

And let's get this rainbow effect going on,

0:40:190:40:22

dropping the water onto it.

0:40:220:40:24

I feel I took too long getting here.

0:40:310:40:33

Let's move it round,

0:40:360:40:37

let's have a go at this side of it now.

0:40:370:40:40

Let's fight that bit there.

0:40:400:40:42

Oh, God, I've got 46 seconds to go.

0:40:420:40:45

I'm going to do this, I am going to get this thing extinguished!

0:40:450:40:49

Let's drop it onto the flames from above.

0:40:490:40:52

Now let's just soak this thing down. Eight seconds.

0:40:520:40:56

Man, these guys must feel so alone when they're doing this for real,

0:40:560:40:59

when you are staring in the face of an actual burning aircraft.

0:40:590:41:02

Just you and the Striker together tackling it.

0:41:020:41:05

But we are out. We're out, we're out.

0:41:050:41:07

Surely, I've got this thing out.

0:41:070:41:11

I can't say that didn't get to me, the stress of that,

0:41:110:41:14

cos it did.

0:41:140:41:16

That was...

0:41:160:41:18

It was exciting

0:41:190:41:21

and for me, it was exciting in a good way, it was a test.

0:41:210:41:23

I'm not sure I'd want to do it for real.

0:41:230:41:25

Right. Let's have a look.

0:41:250:41:28

-Good job, Richard.

-"A" for effort.

-Well, it's out. It's out.

0:41:280:41:32

-Good job.

-I reckon I had, what, three seconds to spare there?

0:41:320:41:35

-Come on, I did, more or less.

-You made it.

0:41:350:41:37

Considering most people train for six months on this truck

0:41:370:41:40

before they're actually allowed to drive it,

0:41:400:41:42

I think for three days you did great.

0:41:420:41:44

I admire what you do and what you're here ready to do

0:41:440:41:48

at any time and it could happen, it could happen right now.

0:41:480:41:51

I don't know if I'd want the job.

0:41:510:41:54

No offence, it's a great job you do.

0:41:540:41:56

I'm so glad you're doing it. It's one of those jobs, if it suits you,

0:41:560:42:00

if it fits, it's probably the best job in the world.

0:42:000:42:02

-I'm glad you guys are there to do it.

-Thank you.

0:42:020:42:05

After my three days, I can bumble up here

0:42:050:42:07

and squirt some water over there, pretending, but hey.

0:42:070:42:10

He's not done. He has to re-service it, wash it, put it back in the station.

0:42:100:42:13

-Oh, yeah, the...the fun stuff.

-This is your newbie stuff. I resign!

0:42:130:42:16

It's three days. The three days are up now!

0:42:160:42:20

It's been an honour serving with you, though.

0:42:200:42:22

It's been a joy, a privilege.

0:42:220:42:25

Thanks for being, well, really terrible to me,

0:42:250:42:27

for the wet boots and everything else. But...

0:42:270:42:30

-EMERGENCY CALL

-We're getting a call.

0:42:300:42:33

'Truck 44. Grass fire in the grassy area to the left of runway 135.'

0:42:330:42:39

Can he go? Yeah, just get in right now.

0:42:440:42:47

Yeah. Just hold on.

0:42:480:42:52

We just got toned out to a grass fire on the right side

0:42:550:42:59

of this runway right here.

0:42:590:43:01

-MAN ON RADIO:

-It's probably 100-150 feet across,

0:43:010:43:04

got some pretty good flames blowing up in the wind.

0:43:040:43:07

Astonishing, I'm getting to see them do for real

0:43:070:43:09

the things I've been practising all week.

0:43:090:43:11

This is the grass fire.

0:43:110:43:13

It's over here at the very north end of the runway here.

0:43:130:43:16

Since it's so dry out right now, the grass fire, if it gets going,

0:43:190:43:23

it can be gone just like that.

0:43:230:43:25

VOICES ON RADIO

0:43:270:43:29

There was a grass fire at the airport.

0:43:370:43:40

Potentially, a really bad thing.

0:43:400:43:42

But you and I are really lucky, cos what just happened

0:43:420:43:45

is we got to see the Striker and the team running it

0:43:450:43:49

do what they're here to do.

0:43:490:43:51

I'd love to be really British and reserved and go, yeah,

0:43:510:43:54

that was a really useful illustration

0:43:540:43:57

of what we've been observing thus far.

0:43:570:43:59

But actually, I've got to say - wow, that was amazing!

0:43:590:44:03

To get an actual shout whilst talking to the guys,

0:44:030:44:05

radio blaring, in, go, what's it going to be? Where's it going to be?

0:44:050:44:09

What are we going to find? And we get there to see them, bang, do the job. Wow.

0:44:090:44:12

Needless to say, it has been an amazing few days.

0:44:120:44:17

We've enjoyed a privileged insight into the work carried out

0:44:170:44:20

by such a dedicated and incredible team. I'm going to miss them,

0:44:200:44:24

the whole team.

0:44:240:44:25

And when I say whole team, I'm including its biggest member,

0:44:250:44:28

the Striker.

0:44:280:44:29

That's one focused yet multi-skilled machine that's always there,

0:44:290:44:34

always ready to help the rest of the guys get out there and do

0:44:340:44:37

what they do best, which is, after all, fight fires and save lives.

0:44:370:44:41

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0:44:410:44:44

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