Battalion Chief Brian Wood has worked at the Lexington Fire Department for 23 years. We recently chatted with Brian about his time as a fireman, his own heroic experiences and much more in our latest interview.
EXCELLANCE: Brian, thank you for speaking with us. First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
BRIAN WOOD: My name is Brian Wood, and I have worked at the Lexington Fire Department for 23 years. I have also been married for 23 years and have a 10 year old daughter. I have been a paramedic since 1994 and currently hold the position of Battalion Chief in charge of Emergency Medical Services.
EXCELLANCE: You are currently the Battalion Chief at the Lexington Fire Department. Tell us how you came to work there and what you enjoy most about your job.
BRIAN WOOD: I started my career in 1993 as a firefighter and also began paramedic training that same year which I finished in early 1994. My father started with the department in 1969, and I had been around it all my life. So it just seemed natural to follow the path. What I enjoy most about the job is how it has changed over the years. At first it was helping people and the excitement of the job. Now that I am in more of a supervisory role, it is helping our guys do what they enjoy. But through it all, I have enjoyed the friendship and brotherhood of this job–which covers all aspects and levels of it.
EXCELLANCE: Most little boys dream of being a fireman or policeman when they grow up. Was that something that crossed your mind at a young age? If not, tell us what you had initially wanted to be when you grew up.
BRIAN WOOD: No not really as a young boy, since I was exposed to it every day I tended to show interest in other things. However, I really don’t remember what. It wasn’t until later in life when I had grew up that I thought, “I might need to actually do this as a job.”
EXCELLANCE: I read a research paper on “Recruiting Paramedics to be Firefighters” that you were mentioned in. That is a very intriguing concept. Is this something done currently at the Lexington Fire Department and how does it work?
BRIAN WOOD: Usually we train our paramedics–meaning that most are hired from the streets with no fire or EMS background. We first send them through our fire academy where we train them to be EMTs and Firefighters. Later after they have successfully completed their probationary year, we then send them to our paramedic academy and train them ourselves. If we decide to hire them as a paramedic, then that is a great cost savings on our part. Plus firefighting is the fun part–so it gives them a good balance and a reason to work here.
EXCELLANCE: Being a fireman is your job but as most heroes (how the world sees you), you never really stop working. While you was off-duty and on the way to take your 8-year old daughter to the movies, you helped rescue a boy who had fallen through the ice. Tell us about that day and how your daughter reacted to that experience.
“Nobody uses the word Hero. We just do what we do, and I was lucky that I was in the right place at the right time.”
BRIAN WOOD: Nobody uses the word Hero. We just do what we do, and I was lucky that I was in the right place at the right time. We have radios in our vehicles which helps us stay up to date on what is going on around us. That day was just one of those lucky days where everything and everyone was in the right place at the right time. I did what anyone else would have done. After it was all over, I was pleased that my daughter was able to see and get a feel for what we do. Needless to say, she was very excited. She was recognized at an awards banquet, and they put the newspaper article up at her school. All dads should be heroes to their little girls but situations like that do help. In one interview she said that if she had knew she be on TV, she would have stood up taller so they could see her better.
EXCELLANCE: The Lexington Fire Department currently has several Excellance units in their inventory. What prompted your department to choose Excellance and what do you like most about the units provided by the company?
BRIAN WOOD: After the delivery of our most recent order, that’ll put our department with all frontline Excellance units and move our first one purchased to reserve status. This is 12 units total. Excellance had already provided our first two units when I took over this position, and I trusted the people I was replacing. I thought, if it wasn’t broke then I wasn’t going to change it. The ones we had, everyone liked, so I rolled on. I am glad I did, because Excellance has worked out well for our department.
“Excellance does what they say they will do and are easy to work with. It’s a quality vehicle, and I don’t feel like just another number.”
BRIAN WOOD: I could write a big paragraph using all the buzz words, but I can simplify that. Excellance does what they say they will do and are easy to work with. It’s a quality vehicle, and I don’t feel like just another number.
EXCELLANCE: Tell us an experience that you have had during your career that still sticks with you to this day.
BRIAN WOOD:It’s hard to explain but there isn’t just one event. It’s more of a collective of experiences that you build on over the years.
“If it doesn’t seem right then look again before you act.”
EXCELLANCE: Lastly, what advice do you have for aspiring fireman and what tips can you offer to them about staying safe on the job?
BRIAN WOOD:Ah, you want philosophy, I knew that was coming. My advice is to learn as much as you can and learn from the guys who you admire and respect. If it doesn’t seem right then look again before you act. This is not an exact science a lot of the time.
To learn more, visit the official Lexington Fire Department Facebook page.