A Volunteer Firefighter


A fireman's life is one big surprise,

Usually he laughs, sometimes he cries.

There's always stress, toil and strife,
Hoping he's good enough to save just one life.

His wife understands, when he misses dinner,

If he runs out of church, don't think he's a sinner.

Answering a call, is tops on his list,

Regretting each one he's ever missed.

He tries and tries, but can't make us see,

The happiest men, still work for free.

Jumping from bed, fighting the cold,

Knowing what to do, without being told.

He rushes to the station, jumps on a truck,

Depending on skill, never on luck.

Putting his life on the line, for an unknown friend,

Hoping and praying, it won't be the end.

"The Bravest Men In The World", the title is fitting,
They all do their best, never come close to quitting.

Next time you see them, all their lights blinking,

Take just a minute, to think what they're thinking.

It's a hard job, so show them you care,
And help them out, with a little prayer.

-author unknown-


I wish you could know what it is like to search a burning bedroom for trapped children, flames rolling above your head, your palms and knees burning as you crawl, the floor sagging under your weight as the kitchen below you burns.

I wish you could comprehend a wife's horror at 3 in the morning as I check her husband of 40 years for a pulse and find none.  I start CPR anyway, hoping to bring him back, knowing intuitively it is too late.  But wanting his wife and family to know everything possible was done to try to save his life.

I wish you knew the unique smell of burning insulation, the taste of soot-filled mucus, the feeling of intense heat through your turnout gear, the sound of flames crackling, the eeriness of being able to see absolutely nothing in dense smoke, sensations that I've become too familiar with.

I wish you could understand how it feels to go to work in the morning after having spent most of the night, hot and soaking wet at a multiple alarm fire.

I wish you could read my mind as I respond to a building fire "Is this a false alarm or a working fire?  How is the building constructed?  What hazards await me?  Is anyone trapped?"  Or to an EMS call, "What is wrong with the patient?  Is it minor or life-threatening?  Is the caller really in distress or is he waiting for us with a 2x4 or a gun?"

I wish you could be in the emergency room as a doctor pronounces dead the beautiful five-year old girl that I have been trying to save during the past 25 minutes.  Who will never go on her first date or say the words, "I love you Mommy" again.

I wish you could know the frustration I feel in the cab of the engine, squad, or my personal vehicle, the driver with his foot pressing down hard on the pedal, my arm tugging again and again at the air horn chain, as you fail to yield the right-of-way at an intersection or in traffic. When you need us however, your first comment upon our arrival will be, "It took you forever to get here!"

I wish you could know my thoughts as I help extricate a girl of teenage years from the remains of her automobile.  "What if this was my sister, my girlfriend or a friend?  What are her parents reaction going to be when they opened the door to find a police officer with hat in hand?"

I wish you could know how it feels to walk in the back door and greet my wife and family, not having the heart to tell them that I nearly did not come back from the last call.

I wish you could realize the physical, emotional and mental drain or missed meals, lost sleep and forgone social activities, in addition to all the tragedy my eyes have seen.

I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of helping save a life or preserving someone's property, or being able to be there in time of crisis, or creating order from total chaos.

I wish you could understand what it feels like to have a little boy tugging at your arm and asking, "Is Mommy okay?" Not even being able to look in his eyes without tears from your own and not knowing what to say.  Or to have to hold back a long time friend who watches his buddy having rescue breathing done on him as they take him away in the ambulance.  You know all along he did not have his seat belt on.  A sensation that I have become too familiar with.

Unless you have lived this kind of life, you will never truly understand or appreciate who I am, we are, or what our job really means to us...I wish you could though.

-author unknown-