We imagine that when it comes to playing a convincing firefighter on television there are plenty of things to consider. Ensuring the physicality is there. Having the mental strength to walk into a blazing building. Knowing essentials, like the moment you open a window you’re letting the oxygen in and effectively attracting the fire towards you.
But, according to Station 19 stars Jason George and Jay Hayden, there’s also one completely surprising thing that’s an integral part of playing a realistic firefighter: getting dressed.
Yup, according to the actors, gearing up in under 60 seconds was just one of the most important things they had to learn during their training in season one and it’s also a lot harder than it sounds.
“You’re actually required to get it all on in under 60 seconds, which we can do. If it takes longer than 30 seconds, you’re going to get made fun of by real firefighters,” George revealed on Thursday during the CTV Upfront in Toronto. “You know the job is hard when literally getting dressed is one of the hardest things.”
On Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy, George plays (semi) new recruit Ben Warren, who is also notably married to Chief Bailey (Chandra Wilson). Hayden, meanwhile, plays Travis Montgomery, who is basically the heart of the station. In the cliff-hanger season two finale, the Seattle-based team travelled to Los Angeles to help fight wildfires, and while everyone survived, Travis was arrested for a previous bar fight and his job was up in the air.
While the duo were pretty tight-lipped about what to expect in the show’s upcoming third season (production hasn’t even started), they were willing to share even more tips about effectively getting into those firefighter turnouts.
“Your boots have to be on in a certain way, and your pants have to be on in a certain way,” George continued. “So you literally put your boots in your pants, together as one unit. You move them as one unit so that they don’t ever come out. It’s a little trick that they teach you early on, like don’t take your boots out cause then you’ll never get them back in the right way again. So yeah, you literally jump into the boots and then pull the pants up over everything else then throw the jacket on, yada, yada, yada.”
According to Hayden, one person who wasn’t on-hand for all of that glorious first-season training was Boris Kodjoe, who joined in the second season as Captain Robert Sullivan. So when it comes to getting dressed, the actor isn’t as enthusiastic as some of the others in terms of nailing the actual to-the-call scenes.
“Of course we didn’t share those tricks with Boris because we don’t ever want him to get it. We’re still hazing him because we need to feel superior in some ways. He’s so stinking tall and handsome,” Hayden said with a laugh. “Boris will literally be like, ‘So like, is the camera on me the whole time I’m getting dressed? Like, can I just like put the jacket on…’ and we’re like Boris please—just put the turnouts on. Please.”
“You gotta chop him at the knees every chance that you get!” George added.
Sounds to us like Kodjoe may welcome some new cast members to haze in season three. That or just embrace the art of the turnout.