#IdeasToGo my name is ra.

4 life lessons from firehouse 531

Slow is Fast.

Everyone wants everything done as quickly as possible. It’s human nature. Be healed now. Be ready now.

But if you let events spin you — if you become a creature of reaction — things end up taking more time and resource. Instead, go slowly be methodical, and pay attention. Rushing doesn’t get you where you’re going faster, it only trips you up and tangles you in your boots.

Have faith. You’ll get your gear on. You’ll arrive on scene. You’ll overcome whatever you need to, and you’ll do it fast.  If you allow yourself to go slow.


Some Things Need to be Tied Down. Some Don’t.

Before the engine speeds away, some gear needs to be harnessed with every knot and buckle imaginable. Other items can just be wedged in between and counted on to stick around.

In life, it works the same. Some things require conscious effort.  Focus on those things rather than worrying about the things you’ll carry with you no matter what your speed or mission.


Train, Prepare– then Improvise.

In my time at the firehouse, I only went on five calls and none bore the slightest resemblance to the next. The best we can hope for is that our training and preparation allow us the stretch of mindset needed to see us through our improvisation, so we can adapt and overcome.


Write the Most Honest Narrative. Then, Share It.

The narratives we tell — the stories we keep alive — set the groundwork for future training and preparation.

Even if you don’t have the chance to benefit from it, someone might.

Tell your truth, and then let it free.



It’s Year 4 of Rarasaur Blog, so I’m going to share 4 Lessons I’ve learned from a variety of places and people and experiences, and how I apply them to life.  These are some of my favorite takeaways from working as an inmate firefighter.

Firehouse 531 is made up of great guys who worked through a variety of situations, and you can send them cards and letters whenever you’re so inclined.  They take care of us in there, despite the bureaucratic hoops they have to jump through to do so.

California Institute for Women
Attn: Firehouse 531
16756 Chino-Corona Road
Corona, CA 92880


Do you collect life lessons, too?


  1. Slow is fast, is a lesson I constantly re-learn — over and over again. Train, prepare and improvise is a good one for sure. Thanks for sharing these, I really didn’t think about which things to secure and just stick on before, so that’s really neat for me. Definitely food for thought.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Bradley. I tend to take things that are taught to me and apply them to my life… even if it just churns out maxims that we all already know. I didn’t want to lose the ideas, though, so I thought I’d start posting them here. Slow is fast is THE HARDEST thing for me because I like to zoom. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Haste makes waste, yes, that’s true. When we were training with putting on the turnout gear, I had to slow myself way down in my mind so that I wouldn’t quite literally get tangled up. One of my captains was fond of the “slow is fast” expression and it really just stuck in my mind. Probably forever, thank goodness. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Hey RaRa,

    I can’t remember the rules for writing folks in prison – it’s been a while 🙂

    What’s the slowdown?

    Can you post a little refresher – plain paper / colored envelopes okay? / can we send them stamps? / what sort of stationary stuff can be received? / common rookie mistakes…don’t send cash!

    I think you had some guidelines on your homepage before. when I think of writing from time to time, there are these little details that I can’t keep straight…and I ploop out….


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Is there a way to figure out who to write? Is it just – Hi Firehouse Girls ? Are there directories for prisoners who would like correspondence…like a list online that isn’t some type of dating thing. Do you know if your California general guidelines can be applied to any prisons across the US? I should probably google this stuff, but I figure you’re pretty dialed in already. And let’s face it…Ridicu is pretty lazy!


  4. “Before the engine speeds away, some gear needs to be harnessed with every knot and buckle imaginable. Other items can just be wedged in between and counted on to stick around.”

    This should be my mantra, Ra, and thank you for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Do I collect life lessons? eh… I guess… I forget them all the time. I dole them out to dear friends and family and then pause and think, Well smarty you should take your own advice.” At times I do.. at times I wallow and/or withdraw. Lately.. I don’t know. I feel stuck. But that will pass I’m sure. The old “This too shall pass.” – apparently, they tell me, it’s true.

    You know how I like to send mail… so I’ll get one off soon. Are these the ladies that you worked with? You mentioned guys so I didn’t know if you were referring to your trainers and/or “bosses”.

    Take care, dear Ra.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t collect life lessons but I think I should cos I find myself repeating my mistakes. I loved reading this! “Fast is slow” will stick in my mind now and also the idea of tying some things down and wedging others in. Makes me think of “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. I’m about to head off to teach English at a daily summer camp (not residential). And I have to keep reminding myself that the bottom line is it’s all small stuff. I can’t do more than my best. : – ) . Thanks for this!



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