on tbt – on strapping in for hazard pay

I’ve been lax in my Throwback Thursdays this year, thinking #tbt, even enjoying #tbt photos from friends, but not regularly participating myself each week, so here’s one for the road: strapping into the helo that was shuttling me and Sam, my search dog, to our assignment on a search in rugged terrain. Bright yellow nomex shirt (theory? so we could be seen from the air), tough boots and a pack full of overnight gear that had to last us however long it took. (And did. In spades.)

being shuttled to assignment on a search, 1980s

being shuttled to assignment on a search, 1980s

Although we trained for free, when we got called out to work a search or rescue or fire, we got paid. And if we set foot in a helicopter? That was counted as hazard pay, due to the general tendencies of helos to, well, exit the sky in unplanned ways, even if we had a cracker-jack pilot (which we usually did). I can’t remember how much it was, something like 37 cents per hour or so? Not enough to die for, no, but then again: you don’t sign up for this kind of work if your own death is your biggest worry. Good work, good co-workers, many a good result and no misses in all that time: glad I did it then, happy not to do it now, and truly delighted it’s part of my story for TBTs!


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