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  • +81

    Firefighter Origins

    Firefighter Origins
    My brother is a firefighter. I used to say that a lot. Somebody would ask about my family at a social gathering, and I'd go down the list: my dad's in the travel industry, my youngest siblings are still in high school, and my brother is a firefighter. No big deal, everybody does SOMETHING with their lives, but to me my ...
    Rated: +81
  • +30

    Firefighters: "Do the Right Thing"

    Firefighters: "Do the Right Thing"
    Every new recruit looks forward to their first day of training with eager anticipation. I know that for me, there were hundreds of images flying through my head. Big trucks, flashing lights, sharp axes - this was going to be way too cool for words. All the other recruits in my class were equally pumped-up, and when we sat down in ...
    Rated: +30
  • +29

    Giddyup Probies: Getting on the Gear

    Giddyup Probies: Getting on the Gear
    If you don’t have bunker gear you don’t have anything. That’s why, as a probie, being issued a set of bunker gear was the first step in equipping me with the tools that probies want and firefighters need. Before you can learn to handle a hose, force a door, or carry a victim, you have to be able to put on ...
    Rated: +29
  • +72

    Firefighters are Brothers, Not Friends

    Firefighters are Brothers, Not Friends
    Firefighters are more than simple friends. Friends go out for pizza on Friday nights. Friends come over to watch the game on your television. “Friends” also have a tendency of disappearing when times get tough. You can't fight fires with friends. To fight fires you need the brotherhood. Last week I asked my biological brother, a firefighter on the department I'm ...
    Rated: +72
  • +34

    Want Probies to Learn? Just Yell at Them

    Want Probies to Learn? Just Yell at Them
    If you're in the fire service, you're going to be yelled at from time to time. I don't care how tough and talented you are, I don't care if you were the student body president or you dated the homecoming queen. The simple truth is that you will be screamed at. I admit that I haven‚t met you, but I know ...
    Rated: +34
  • +32

    Can YOU take the Heat?

    Can YOU take the Heat?
    On day number one we all have it beat into our heads that the primary killer of firefighters is heart attacks. But as probies, we feel that we're invincible, at least for a while. After all, we're young and tough, years away from having to worry about our health…. Or are we? As young firefighters, our hearts may not be at ...
    Rated: +32
  • +9

    How To Save A Life

    How To Save A Life
    I think most firefighters would agree that a good call has some element of "fun" in it. I'm not talking about the kind of fun that you have with a board game or a funny movie, it's way more serious than that, but knocking down a good fire (one where no-one is in danger) produces an enjoyment unlike any other. Unfortunately, ...
    Rated: +9
  • +18

    How to Shake Off the Mistakes

    How to Shake Off the Mistakes
    I've been on the fire department for over a year now. Another group of recruits has come through our academy since then, and they've been out running calls for months. Another recruit class is currently in session, and I'm even starting to help with their training. I feel like I've come a long way. It's always when you feel that way ...
    Rated: +18
  • +24

    Never Settle for "I'm Fine"

    Never Settle for "I'm Fine"
    If your department is anything like mine, you have a pretty good number of medical calls that should never have happened. Everything from small cuts to heartburn to a ride in the big white taxi, a whole gamut of conditions that you could certainly classify as "not an emergency". You may start to think after a while that most people have ...
    Rated: +24
  • +2

    Responding To Those Who Don't Want Your Help

    Responding To Those Who Don't Want Your Help
    In a recent article I wrote for this site, I talked about dealing with those people who are sure they're fine.  That can be a tough situation, but there's a whole other kind of "I don't need help" call that I think is even more difficult to navigate. You see, some people for one reason or another don't just not want ...
    Rated: +2
  • +13

    Rules of the Radio

    Ever since its creation, the portable radio has been the fireman's friend. From traffic control to aggressive fire suppression, our hand-held radios keep us in contact with our brothers and aware of what's going on throughout the scene. As a relative newcomer to the field, I still have clearly in my memory the feeling of what is was like to key ...
    Rated: +13
  • +5

    All I Ever Really Needed To Know I Learned In Rookie School

    All I Ever Really Needed To Know I Learned In  Rookie School
    (With credit to Robert Fulgham and "All I Ever Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten") Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Rookie School. It turns out, being a good firefighter has a lot to do with being a good person. These are ...
    Rated: +5
  • +11

    Firefighting and What It Means to Put Family First

    Firefighting is often touted as rewarding, challenging, demanding, and exciting. These descriptors are all factual, but there's one thing that's often not on the list that is equally true about any career in emergency response: it's addictive. Maybe not in the same way that some chemicals are habit-forming, but those feelings of excitement and camaraderie you get during a good call ...
    Rated: +11
  • +17

    Trama - Not a Television Show

    What's more exciting than flashing lights and wailing sirens? How cool is it to watch unusually attractive paramedics involved in desperate love triangles fiercely pound on the chests of accident victims and perform last minute emergency tracheotomies?  Look out!  It's another Tension pneumothorax!  Phew, saved the day again! Sometimes I think the media we consume really messes with our expectations.  Trauma ...
    Rated: +17