Dave Scocca: Firefighter, First Responder and Friend
"He’s super easy going, chill and he’s a monster on the climbs," said Brad Waldron about his firefighting ride partner Dave Scocca. "Just when I can see the top he has the extra juice, that heart that fireman have, so he puts the hurt on me at the top."
"I met him at our Sea Otter booth. He came by and we just started chatting. His fire station is just around the corner from my house. One of the things that is cool about riding with Dave and his fellow fighters is at the end of the ride, when we are sitting around the fire station, it is always amazing how much they play down what they do. They have a lot of bullshit calls, but you will be there sometimes when they come back from a call where they have saved someone’s life and it is such a cool thing to see how pumped they get."
Editors Note: There is no truth to the rumor the reason we are doing this interview is because Scocca also cleans Brad's pool. We just know Dave is a great guy and this seemed like an appropriate time to introduce him to the Kali Krew.
I wouldn’t say I initially wanted to be a firefighter. My oldest brother, Tom, was a police officer so I initally went into studying for my Administration of Justice degree. When I was 19-years-old, I was introduced to a fire captain who worked for Fremont Fire Department. I really liked what he had to say about the career. He advised me to become a volunteer firefighter and see if this was the field of work I truly wanted to pursue. So, I became a reserve firefighter for the City of Campbell and that was it; I was bitten by the fire bug.
What does a day in the life of Dave look like?
As you can imagine, I have three distinct lives. One, the first responder; two the father; and three, the husband. My typical off days definitely will start with a mountain bike ride or spin bike when raining, some house chores, a dog walk, then plans for lunch, dinner and any outings we may have with others. I usually end my day with the wife watching Jeopardy and a nice bottle of red wine.
Work is a different story, which includes a 48 hour shift. My day starts at 8am and consists of station and apparatus maintenance. We play cards (poker) to figure who will cook, wash dishes, answer the phones and make the coffee. Along with our typical daily duties, we respond to 911 request. These calls consist of medical emergencies, fires or other types of public service. The part I like most about my day is the unknown, every day can be very different.
Has your work day changed due to the current state of Covid19?
Our work day has dramatically changed on how we respond to all types of emergencies. The crews decontaminate the station and apparatus everyday. We respond to each call as if everyone is carrying the virus. Every patient we come in contact with gets a mask to wear, initially only the paramedic goes into triage the call, and if more help is needed then we only bring the minimum amount of people needed to treat the patient. As a first responder it is a very scary time. We do not want to bring this home to our loved ones let alone pass it on to the citizens we serve. I have been in the fire service for 30 years, (eight years as a reserve and 22 years as a paid professional), and at no time in my career have we been so vulnerable.
I have been riding bikes all my life from BMX, mountain, road or just on a cruiser. I really got into mountain biking when I was 17. My brother, Jim, loved to ride bikes so I bought a Specialized Rockhopper as my first mountain bike. We would ride Kennedy, Sierra Azul, Priest Rock, Alamden Quicksilver and many other areas that weren’t even considered open to the public. I guess we today call that illegal riding, oops. My bike is my true get away, it is what gives me a release, a time when I can reflect on myself, family, friends and life in general. My bike truly gives me SANITY.
Can you tell us what bike you ride, if you've tricked it out and what one bike bit you are lusting after at the moment.
My current mountain bike is a 2017 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 6-Fattie. The only thing I upgraded on the bike was the wheel set to a Roval Traverse Carbon SL and Shimano XT brakes. The one part I lust for on the bike, is an electric motor. Those damn hills!!!!!!!
Do you have any advice for the kids out there who are dreaming of being a firefighter when they grow up?
The advice I’d give to anyone wanting a career in the fire service is to continue on their educational path. The fire service can be a very competitive field to get into these days. This is the one career people usually do not leave. I tell people getting this job, is like getting the Golden Ticket! Yes, I know I am dating myself referencing Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The more one can do in making themself stand out will give them a better opportunity in achieving their goal. Also, I feel with any career choice, it is to your benefit to do research. The field of public safety takes a special person; someone who can deal with all types of stressors and can take care of themselves at the same time. In this field, you will see unimaginable things that can be hard to forget. The great thing about the fire service or police service is they allow citizen ride-a-longs where you can see the day-to-day inner workings along with responding to calls. This opportunity gives one a direct insight to the career. I didn’t choose this career, it chose me because of what it affords me. Personal reward, stability, helping others, lifetime friendships are just a few of many things I love about the fire service.
Where is the one place you dream of riding when all the travel restriction are lifted and you can ride one off your bucket list?
The one place I would love to go and ride would be, Whistler, BC, Canada which is known for its summer mountain biking. I have read about, watched videos and talked to people who have been there and they say nothing but great things.
Do you have one piece of advice for the Kali Krew during these difficult times?
Yes, follow the guidelines. The guidelines have been put in place for a reason. Just follow the guidelines.