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Firefighters are Brothers, Not Friends

Firefighters are Brothers, Not Friends

Ethan Vizitei

If you put in the face-time, meet all the firefighters at your station, take your position seriously, do the grunt-work during truck checks, and respect the experience of those who have been there longer than you, than you are effectively building up your own support structure. When you’re struggling physically, this band of brothers will step up and bear the load with you. When you are emotionally overcome because of a child who perished in a blaze, these new brothers will talk you through it and give you the tools you need to pick yourself up and move on. As one of the crew, they’ll always be helping you along to make you more competent, more ready.

They do this because they are you. They do this because they are your brothers. They do this because they too remember being the new guy.

But what if you choose not to be so much of a team player? What if you don’t really feel the need to get to know everybody? What if you assume, “hey, we all have the same training right- what do I care who’s on the truck with me?” What if you feel like you just finished a long haul during recruit class and you’ve earned a well-deserved break back at the station? After all, everybody needs a break right? What if you don’t treat the senior members of your station with all the respect they’ve earned? What if you assume that you know just as much as anybody because you’ve got all the training you need? What if you think you’re entitled to be just as high up in the pecking order as anyone else?

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Well buddy, if that’s you – then you’re in for a hard time. No one is going to let you get hurt, if they can avoid it, but they sure aren’t going to care about helping you out either. Physical struggles? Man-up, son. Shocked over a tough call? No one’s going to comfort you this time hotshot… I thought you had all the training you needed, wasn’t that what you were just saying?

If you don’t integrate with the crew, you won’t become a part of the crew, you won’t have support, and you won’t have structure. If you don’t build your firehouse relationships then you’re effectively burning your own bridges. If you don’t work hard and earn your house’s respect then you won’t have friends — and you most certainly won’t have any brothers.

We probies reap what we sow. Becoming a firefighter depends completely on our own efforts and attitude. Be a loner, and you’ll suffer alone. Be a brother, and we’ll grow together.