B-Shifter: A Firefighter’s Memoir
Most firefighter memoirs are painfully idealized and should come equipped with a bag-pipe soundtrack. If thatʼs the kind of book youʼre looking for, my advice is to move on because B-Shifter will most likely disappoint you. The first 3 chapters of B-Shifter are about family. Brunacini devotes the first chapter of the book to chronicling
Most firefighter memoirs are painfully idealized and should come equipped with a bag-pipe soundtrack. If thatʼs the kind of book youʼre looking for, my advice is to move on because B-Shifter will most likely disappoint you. The first 3 chapters of B-Shifter are about family. Brunacini devotes the first chapter of the book to chronicling his fatherʼs (Alan Brunacini) 48-year career with the Phoenix, AZ Fire Department. Alan is world renown as one of the fathers of the modern fire service and a pioneer for firefighter safety. Nick connects his fatherʼs zeal for improved firefighting safety procedures by vividly describing a diner fire where his father died for a few minutes. The next two chapters are devoted to Nick and his brother and sister growing up in a family where the only logical end was joining the fire service fraternity. Nick makes the observation that fire departments more closely resemble cults (or severely dysfunctional families) than a regular workforce. The reader is brought into the closed world of fire station life and the wide range of personalities that a fire station houses. Firefighters describe B-Shifterʼs portrayal of the workforce as “dead on”. The remaining 10 chapters of B-Shifter give the reader a “ride along” on a collection of the most exciting, twisted, heart breaking and adrenaline filled calls over a 25-year period in the city of Phoenix. Whether itʼs pulling an attack line up a rapidly vaporizing staircase, a airplane crash into the center of a family’s Memorial Day backyard picnic or standing by the side of a slime filled pool frantically trying to rescue a pair of young brothers, the reader is immersed in the firefighterʼs world. B-Shifter is as much about how firefighters perform, handle and decompress from responding to life and death situations. The Phoenix Fire Department was long held to be the cutting edge fire department by most of the worldʼs fire service. B-Shifter shows the world that the PFD is as human as any other department. Despite the graphic nature of the book most readers describe it as absolutely hilarious.