What is a Firefighter?

Nov. 20, 2006
Very few people in the corporate world go to work in the morning wondering Whether they’ll be coming home at the end of their day. In the fire service, it is a reality every time a firefighter goes to the firehouse.

Very few people in the corporate world go to work in the morning wondering whether they'll be coming home at the end of their day. In the fire service, it is a reality every time a firefighter goes to the firehouse. Statistics show that firefighters have the most dangerous profession in the country. If this is the case, why do thousands line up to become one?

Why is it so competitive? And why are so many men and women from varying backgrounds willing to make the sacrifice? Why are firefighters America's heroes? A recent CNN opinion poll ranked firefighters as the most trusted individuals in the country. It is one of the few occupations whose members are welcomed into your home without an appointment. People leave valuables in plain view, and never give it a second thought.

Why do firefighters gain an inherent public trust? Simply put, firefighters stand for all that is good in our society. Human instinct is to run away from fire for fear of being injured. Firefighters are the only ones who run toward a burning building in search of people in need of help. They are willing to risk their lives for complete strangers regardless of race, creed, color, or socioeconomic status. What is it that motivates them to do this?

Are firefighters blind to the true dangers of their job? Hardly. They are conditioned to perform even though they may be frightened or uncertain of their fate. Don't believe for a moment that firefighters are not afraid of losing their lives. If any firefighter tells you that he or she has never been in fear for his or her life, they are either new to the fire service, don't want to frighten you, or perhaps, appear weak. How can firefighters perform when the average person would be paralyzed with fear?

Most firefighters will tell you it is just a matter of keeping your composure and getting the job done, coupled with outstanding training and the knowledge that you are surrounded by competent co-workers who are always looking out for you.

It is imperative that a firefighter be diligent about his or her training, job knowledge and education. It not only helps the individual firefighter, but it also makes the team more effective. a Firefighter The community relies on its firefighters to solve many types of problems, ranging from a simple medical emergency to a complex hazardous materials incident. Firefighters also respond to traffic accidents, fires, and floods as well as terrorist-related incidents.

Is an individual firefighter a hero? No. There are heroic actions taken by firefighters every day throughout our country. However, this is what they are paid to do. Are there some incredible individual efforts? Yes, absolutely, but you will rarely hear about the efforts of a single firefighter. You are more likely to hear about the accomplishments of an entire crew.

As firefighters, we are taught early on that this is a selfless occupation. You are not to be concerned with your own personal needs, but rather the needs of the crew. As a result, everyone dresses alike, eats, works, and sleeps together. The teamwork concept is very apparent in the fire service. An "individual" is either brought into the fold or is eliminated through peer pressure.

Being a firefighter is a very satisfying profession, and is highly respected by children and adults alike. Whether you're a child or an adult, everyone likes firefighters and hardly anyone can resist waving to the fire engine. Firefighters did not "settle" for a profession that they didn't really want. They are in the fire service because they want to be there. After going through a rigorous training program, each firefighter you see has reached his or her goal, and is now the cream of the crop. They could have chosen other professions, but they followed their dreams and chose to serve the community.

One of the most gratifying aspects of being a firefighter is the camaraderie in the fire station. It is an awesome feeling to be part of a dynamic group that will do anything for one of its members. It is said that firefighters will eat their own. Although that might be true, be assured that they would also lie down their lives for one of their own.

It is not uncommon to see sons and daughters following in their father's footsteps. Firefighting is one of the few professions in which fathers dream that their children will follow in their footsteps.

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