What Does Being a Firefighter Mean to You?

Welcome back to the jumpseat. With the dog days of summer in full swing, the calls keep coming and making for some busy shifts. During a recent all-night long session of running calls one thought kept coming to my mind: what does being a firefighter mean to me? It seems like we often are lost in the politics of our departments, constant stream of negatives, or focused on how things could be better for us. Is this really, how we should be? What does being a firefighter really mean to me?

We all have chosen to take the oath of service to our communities. When you take this pledge, to serve, you have taken on the responsibilities associated with it. It requires us to continue educating ourselves, stay physically fit, and mentally prepared for anything that comes our way.  It also means that our behavior is held to a higher standard, both on and off the job. One should not take this oath lightly. Many men and women have given their lives to build our fire service into what it is today. 

So what does being a firefighter mean to you? 

  • To me, it means that I get to serve others by doing something that I love. It is somewhat funny how, soon after you find out someone is a firefighter, you can see their eyes light up when they begin to talk about their job.
  • It means that I need to continue studying fire behavior, building construction, and fire tactics for the next 20 or so years.  If you do not know your enemy, or how to combat it, what good are you? 
  • It means learning about EMS: Emergency Medical Services.  Let’s face the reality - EMS is what we do most often. Keeping up on your skill set in EMS can be difficult due to the vast amount of different treatments, especially some that are rarely used. A constant stream of reminders and education needs to combat this problem. 

Most of all, being a firefighter means to me that I have chosen the right profession. The world needs bankers, food service professionals, and service people. However, those jobs just do not fit me.  I am a firefighter and I feel honored that I was chosen to serve in this role. So when the nights get long, the fires get hot, and the chief gets cranky just remember that we have a tradition to uphold.  A tradition of service that needs continued until we are ready to hang up our helmets. 

Thank you firefighters for your service!

Bunker up, buckle in, and remember that we all start in the jumpseat!