This I Believe

Alex - Lincoln, Rhode Island
Entered on April 3, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: community
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I believe in fire fighting. I believe that us firefighters are true heroes because when everyone is running out of burning buildings we are running in. We are just doing our job trying to save and protect people in society.

If it wasn’t for my Dad I’m not sure I would be considering firefighting as a career. I knew this career would be exciting and intense. I’m just not the type of person to be sitting inside all day so I joined the fire department a year ago when I turned sixteen. I am considered a junior firefighter and when I turn eighteen I will be a full fledged firefighter. As a junior firefighter you have to become familiar with every little thing. As a firefighter I have to know where the tools and machines are located, how they work and the proper names for them. Being a firefighter takes much training perseverance.

When I’m around the firehouse, with the guys that have much experience, everyone prays for the tone to go off. Waiting for the next call is like a child waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. Even me and the other juniors are anxious because you never know what’s going to happen next.

The best day I ever had, while I was on the fire department, was the day we had training on a Saturday. This was the day I first laid my hands on the Jaws of Life. We were two short of having everyone present that day. The weather was great, not a cloud in sight but the only downfall of that day was the heat. With all of our gear on, plus the 90 degrees from the scorching sun, we had to extricate victims from three cars. We used dummies for the victims. All of this learning and hard work took about a good six hours. Extrication is one of the busiest and most difficult things we do on the department.

The worst day I ever had on the fire department was wet and miserable. It was a morning that I will never forget. I was off to work on a Friday and during that ride my god father gave me the notice that a fatal accident had occurred during the night. My eyes opened wide, felt like my heart stopped. If it was somebody that I didn’t know he would have told me first thing. As we were approaching the fire station, nice and slow, the name Derek came out of his mouth. I was speechless. Their was nothing to be said for a period of time. As soon as I stepped out of the truck I had lost it. As the tears ran down, the chief came over and gave me a hug and patted me on the back. This was one of the most dramatic moments in my life. Derek was my best friend in the fire service, he would teach me everything. He would get me out of the biggest problems that I would get myself into. I will never forget him.

Overall firefighting is a dangerous job. Firefighters experience good times and bad times. There are times we have to risk our lives for others but it is our job. People think we’re crazy because when there is a house fully engulfed, all of us fire fighters are running in when everyone is running out.