by Lorie Lewis Ham
In 2020, we are profiling members of the Reedley Fire Department. This week we are interviewing Andrew Rios who is currently an Apparatus Engineer. Andrew was born and raised in Reedley. He attended Lincoln, Grant and Reedley High School.
KRL: Are you full time or volunteer?
Andrew: I am a paid-call firefighter here in Reedley.
KRL: When did you first know you wanted to be a firefighter and why?
Andrew: I actually wanted to go in law enforcement growing up and out of high school. After high school, I graduated the police academy but certain factors including the 2007 recession made it difficult.
KRL: How long have you been one and how long with Reedley Fire Department?
Andrew: I joined Reedley Fire in 2009 because I had a few friends on the department who encouraged me to apply.
KRL: What kind of training did you go through?
Andrew: Reedley Fire puts new hires through a three-month academy based of Firefighter 1 curriculum and have completed numerous trainings throughout the years. I completed the EMT program in 2011 and was hired by Sequoia Safety Council in 2012 and worked there for just over 5 years. I currently work as a Fire Captain for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
KRL: What are your specific duties?
Andrew: My duties as an Engineer are to operate and pump the apparatus safely to provide water to the firefighters at the hose. I along with firefighters make sure everything runs properly inside and out of the apparatus. I also assist in various fires and run medical aids.
KRL: What do you like best about being a firefighter?
Andrew: I like helping the community and feeling as if I’m doing my part to help take care of it.
KRL: What is the hardest?
Andrew: The hardest part about working in your hometown is running medical calls on your own friends and family, which I’ve unfortunately done multiple times.
KRL: What is a typical day like for you on the job?
Andrew: I wouldn’t say we have a typical day here in Reedley because most of the department personnel have full time jobs, which people don’t know about. I work shift work so a couple to a few days on at a time. As for today being typical, I guess you can say like today, it involves getting off work at 7 a.m. from a 72 hours shift during the 4th of July weekend which was busy for every fire department. Throughout my day off I get things done around the house, hit the gym, run errands, try to get things prepared for dinner for my family but while in between all that we’re getting toned out for calls. Yes, it interrupts our day but that’s what we signed up for. My girlfriend works 5 days a week and daughter is off from school of course. My family knows that dinner can and will be interrupted, they know we could be enjoying a walk in our neighborhood or at a family function and when we get that call, we’re gone. I’ve been on Reedley Fire going on 11 years and they’re used to it but they’re supportive.
KRL: Is there one special moment you would like to share?
Andrew: The most memorable moment/call I have to share is when I helped (along with Sequoia ambulance) bring a gentleman back to life with CPR and shocking his heart multiple times, riding in the back of the ambulance from his residence to Reedley hospital continuously shocking and CPR. We pulled him out of the ambulance on the gurney, wheeled him in and he just started moving! It was my first time seeing that and a total shock. He made a full recovery but if you don’t believe in fate then his story might make you. He and his family were camping in a no cell service area the day before, decided for a random reason to come home early. His wife thought he was asleep, she was about to get in bed and had an eerie feeling and checked on him. She noticed he wasn’t breathing or had a pulse, called 911 and they guided her to perform CPR. We gave her all the credit to saving his life. To this day, I see him and his wife around town, we hug each other, and his wife will usually hug me a little longer with a couple tears, which is fine with me.
Andrew: Some of my hobbies are to play a round of golf when I can, try to stay active in the gym, attempt to keep on a healthy diet ha and enjoy the outdoors whenever our schedules align.
KRL: Future plans/goals?
Andrew: My future plans are to continue school and look into a paying hobby like a real estate agent.
KRL: Anything else you would like to share?
Andrew: Something I would like people to know and realize is Reedley Fire Personnel are here because we choose to be not because of the money. We aren’t a full time department, this does not provide us compensation to pay a mortgage or vehicle payment. For most of us, this is where we grew up and enjoy being here. Also, please pull to the right when you see an emergency vehicle code 3 ha!
Check out past profiles on Reedley firefighters and find even more Reedley articles in our Reedley News section!