Q and A with Firefighter Travis Cedatol
Travis M. Cedotal, 31, from Donaldsonville
Education and Experience: Travis has been a member of the Donaldsonville Fire Department for 14 years, the last eight years paid, and six as a volunteer, and four of those he spent servicing our country.
He has several certifications through LSU. They include FF I, FF II, Haz Mat Awareness, Haz Hat Operations, Haz Mat Technician, Driver/Operator, and he also attended classes in Fire Instructor I, Inspector I, and Fire Investigator. He has received specialized training from the US Navy including: Engineering Common Core, Damage Control “A” School, Firefighting Foam Proportioning System Technician, Chemical, Biological, Radiological Warfare Specialist, and is a National Register Emergency Medical Technician.
He is married to Shelly and together they have two sons: Alex, 10, and Travis Jr., 5.
In several sentences explain why you choose this profession?
I love doing what I do: the excitement, the training, the experience, and most importantly saving lives, helping people in need and giving back to the community that I grew up in.
Who inspired you?
I have always found myself trying to help people out and enjoyed doing it. Once I joined the fire department it was Kirk Landry who inspired and motivated me to get the training and to set goals to achieve.
What are the greatest challenges in your field?
Everything about this profession is a challenge. The long days and nights we work, finding ways to service our community to the best of our abilities with limited resources. Trying to earn respect of the citizens of this community who may not know how hard we work and train so that when they are in need that the big red truck that make all the noise will respond with the best trained personnel.
What are the daily duties in your position?
I supervise my shift in servicing and maintaining the firefighting systems and equipment, responding to emergency calls, and daily training in firefighting, EMS, Rescue, or Haz Mat.
What’s something about your line of work that most people don’t know?
We work a 24-hour shift, and we don’t only respond to calls we also have to maintain and service test equipment and the four fire stations in the area. There are times when you only get a few hours of sleep or rest if any and not always all at the same time. Then when we get off in the morning it’s off to another job to help support our families.
What is a memorable moment in your career and why?
There are so many but the first is the best. Mine was the Riverdale Club House Fire, it was my first fire, the smell, so much going on all around me. The excitement, the adrenaline, I couldn’t believe I was there and that I was doing this. It was like a dream, then all of the different fire trucks from various fire departments in the Parish, and all the firemen from all over, at that moment, I knew I was a part of something great. It is a brotherhood of people putting their safety and lives on the line to help their fellows in need.