Friday, March 28, 2008

This is what I live for!!!

Passion, Dedication, Knowledge, Pride, Integrity, Tradition, all of these are words associated with firefighting. Someone recently asked me to talk about firefighting. I will try my best attempt do so, however, it is just a job that challenges us.

Like I said, being a firefighter is a job, but you have to be passionate about it. You have live it, breathe it, and be in love with it. It seems quirky to say that, being said in the movie "Backdraft" and all. It is very true, I once was told by a very special person, " Someday I hope you love me as much as you love your job!" Lets think about that, very strong words when a person is about to get married. 13 years later I still remember that very day. In fact I remember putting off to go see the minister to set up the wedding, all for a structure fire.

To some people that may seem a bit radical. Think about the situations that we are sent into, maybe just a bit radical don't you think. The statement that these guys are rushing in as people are rushing out. A big reason why 115 people die every year in the line of duty, not counting those that die from occupational cancers. Thank god for unions that fight for workers rights, otherwise cancer would not be recognized.

The firefighters are called when someones world has just took a shit on them. The men and women who do this job are expected to fix it, even if they can't. That is what I live for, that moment when I can walk into someones life and possibly fix or help them in a time of need. Being the person that reaches out with that helping hand. Whether it be running into a burning building or assisting at a motor vehicle accident. Even something as simple as changing a battery in smoke detector. We are called for many things, basically when you don't know who to call, people call us. Some things you just have to take as a grain of salt.

With good also comes the bad, which I have written about before. Somewhat you are the bearer of bad news. Cutting a dead body out of mangled car, doing CPR on a dad before his daughters wedding. Many times people ask what is the worst thing I have ever seen, do they really want to know? I see lots of bad things, and I really don't want to share the horrible things that I have seen. Hell a few years back I had to deal with three suicides in three shifts, thanks have a nice day. Fucking nosey people is all have to say about that.

Yes this is what I live for. The moment that I can walk into someones life and possibly fix or help them in the time of need. If you knew me, you would definitely say that I am passionate about my job. Passionate about the people in my life, life is short, have fun, and live it to the fullest. Passionate for the best job in the world, I am living my dream.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Help Me!

Sometimes in life we take a hard fall, hoping that no one saw us, we try to get up quickly. We are standing on fragile ice, trying to be careful, not to crack it and fall in to the icy water. Suddenly the ice breaks and we fall into the freezing water. We are hanging on with our arms, unable to lift ourselves back onto the ice. Every time we do the ice breaks more. Now our legs begin to feel numb, we begin to feel fatigued, tired, like we can't go on anymore. Waiting and wondering if anyone will come to our rescue. Just give me something to hang on to, a rope, ladder, even hope would be enough. Somehow you find strength to try again. With no luck we are stuck, waiting for that glimmer of hope that somehow or someway we will be rescued. Will we drown if no one comes to our aid. We begin to realize that water is no longer cold, we just don't feel it any longer. Our breathing slows, we try to rest, hoping and waiting.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Imagine yourself being trapped, your lost, and now you can't find your way out. It is hot, your confused, and the noise around you makes it impossible to get someones attention. You feel your heart begin to race, you begin to feel anxious, breathing faster. Breathing faster lessens your time of survival. You are breathing off a tank of air and your time is limited. You crawl on your belly to a wall, feeling for window to escape. Never feeling that window you go to the next room. Still no window you keep crawling, you feel like you have gone in complete circles. You are now very disorientated, you can't think straight. Now the bell and vibrating face piece have stopped, and through your training you know that you have less than a minute. You turn yourself, so that your feet are against the wall, you kick backwards like a donkey. Making a hole in the wall so that you can escape to the outside, instead your in a closet. Every breath your mask gets tighter to your face, no more air for the taking. If you take your mask off it will be complete smoke, it will choke you and you will pass out. The natural thing to do is to take off your mask. Otherwise you can't breathe at all, just make it quick you pray. You pull your radio to your face, you take off your mask, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY. I am out of air.....tell my family I love them. On the radio you hear where are you? You hit your emergency alarm on your air tank, and the smoke burns your lungs. Tears come to your eyes, knowing that your children will never see their father again. Your now choking and soon it will be over. Those last seconds of life, so many things go through your head, slowly everything fades away.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


We arrived back to the station to eat lunch. The bag of burritos was placed on the table, and the guys milled around the kitchen getting drinks. The firefighters took their usual places at the table, just like people do at home. The officer takes his position and the others follow like children. The senior firefighter turns on the television, appropriately selecting the noon news. Not wasting time they quickly began to shovel the food into bodies. Knowing that at a moments notice they can called away from their warm meal. The officer finished and dismissed himself from the table and began to clean the kitchen. Others had partially eaten their meals when the alarm sounded. A few extra bites were taken to ensure that their station was not due. The word structure fire and food was dropped, left behind in piles around the table. Shoes were kicked off their feet as they climbed into their gear. Encapsulating their bodies, not leaving any skin exposed to the elements they were about to endure.

As the ladder truck rolled through the community you could see the smoke rising in the distance. Cars pulling out of their way, for the exception of that one asshole that thinks his day is more important than the ladder truck. Sirens blaring like a small child when his toys are ruined. Air horns blasting, clearing a path to maneuver through. Vehicles begin to part, leaving them like the wake that a boat leaves behind. As the ladder truck rounds the corner the fire insight, smoke billowing. Smoke colors changing rapidly, pushing, chugging, blackened like a steam locomotive building speed.

As the firefighters depart the vehicle, smoke perforates their senses. They appeared like a team approaches the playing field. Sizing up their opponent, ready for the battle of their lives. Approaching the doorway, smoke lay on the floor. Hose leads the way and disappears like a road in to the fog. Before their masks are placed on their faces, they can taste the smoke as it burns their lungs. As if claws had just shred their throat and the blood trickles into their lungs. Masks are on now as they enter the building, listening and feeling their way to the fire. Heat intensifies the closer they get, pushing them down onto their bellies. Crawling beneath the devil, trying to escape his strong hold. Crackling is heard above them, the smoke begins to dissipate as they reach the seed of the fire. Engine company members use their hose, in comparison of the knight using his sword to slay the dragon. And then in the shadows of the orange glow is the silhouette of lifeless man and wife.

Hearts pounding in their chests, and a lumps in their throat. First the woman and then the man, they removed them as fast as they can. Through the smoke and to the lawn, exhausted they came to a rest. Medics rushed to their aid, firefighters pushed aside. Anguish on their faces, knowing the outcome of their sacrifices. Feeling empty, like a ball player missing the winning shot. Hearing sorrow, screams, and disappointment in the crowd that goatherd to watch the game. Knowing that they are the hero's that will get the blame.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Stretching my leg out, over the seat, straddling my machine. Using my left leg I pushed the motorcycle up, balancing it between my legs. I place the key into the ignition, turning it on I press the start button. The vibration of the engine spreads adrenaline through my body. I adjust my gloves, placing my helmet on my head, placing my glasses over my eyes. The rumbling of the bike, like the sweet music that relaxes you at the end of the day. I lift my foot and engage the transmission, releasing the break, accelerating away. I feel a rush of energy through my body. Becoming one with the bike, the pure power, surging you through life. My senses absorbing the sights and sounds of leisure. The smell of fresh air as you ride through the country. Losing myself, allowing my mind to wander and dream while enjoying the beautiful sights of the ride. Not having a destination, carefree, wondering where the day will take me. No responsibilities, just me, my bike, and my soul.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Reflections of death

Many times in life we are faced with different challenges that push us to limits unknown to us. Life and death are part of everyday life in my world. Unfortunately the images of death distort the positives in life. I can still hear the screams of the mother when we found her dead child in a fire. The words of young man that grabbed his chest, looking at me in despair, then falling at my feet dying, taking the last breaths that he would ever take. Standing in a ditch with a deceased, while somewhere their family awaits their return. The memories of those that I have somehow or another have helped has become clouded and obscured. If for one moment I could comfort the family of one who passes. Instead I see their fear, denial, anger and disbelief. Not quite 40 and 20 years of trying to help, death of many haunt me to this day. Amazingly the death and sorrow that my eyes have witnessed, has no equal to those who have given their lives for our wonderful nation. And it is no match for those that have witnessed such devastation as 9/11.