Here are the top 4 reasons why I love being a firefighter. They are the reasons why I would endorse this as a career choice for others.
1. The people you will meet and the lives you will touch
When your job description is to “Protect the weak”, you know you will be impacting lives. The truth is that the people we have sworn to protect aren’t weak. They are just having a weak moment. We meet people at their worst moments and we are there to do everything in our power to make it better. Combine that with every time a firefighter connects with a member of the public and you can begin to realize the level of impact I am talking about. The senior citizen who needs help hanging a smoke detector, the young parents who detect an unusual gas-like odor in their home, the child who is injured playing in the school yard at recess – all examples of people who we may serve and protect on a typical workday. Firefighters are pillars in their community. They are dedicated to serving others and putting their personal safety aside for the love of their community.
2. You get to utilize your talents, skills and abilities
Your value in most organizations is to be a function, not to be yourself. This profession will take you, and all of your imperfections. Everyone has a unique skillset. The fire service needs you and your talents. Even if an individual has not yet identified their talents, but brings nothing more than a desire to contribute, and a willingness to learn, that person is an asset. Those two qualities alone will give a person the foundation they will need to learn new skills, and become proficient in many of the areas that are required of those who wear the maltese cross. Some people come into the fire service with backgrounds in building construction. Others have never hung up a picture. It does matter. The fact is the fire service has the ability to help someone develop and identify what they are good at in a way that few other professions can.
3. The person you get to become in the process
Only the service men and women of our armed forces can understand this the way firefighters do. We exist to serve our fellow men and women at the highest level. For those of us in the fire service, this goes beyond what we do when we answer the call. Being a firefighter is a 24/7 calling. There are so many ways firefighters volunteer their time off duty to contribute to society. Serving seniors at a nursing home, assisting a community after a natural disaster, or helping raise money for a good cause are a few. This isn’t just a job it’s a career – a calling. As difficult as this profession is, it’s extremely rewarding. You are serving a purpose like no other and you will be adding value to everything around you. This type of calling will enable individuals become exceptional human beings.
4. The Ultimate Team Experience
Firefighters risk their lives together, which creates a bond that is so tight, you could not put into words. Firefighters don’t just rely on each other to do their part in saving the lives of strangers; they rely on each other to save the lives of the person standing next to them – their team members. This transcends anything we have seen in professional sports. Yes they joke with each other, and if they find what bothers you, they will probably exploit that weakness in a way that would make the writers of Saturday night live laugh out loud. They do that because they are connected on a family level. They are brothers and sisters who eat, sleep, train, fight, laugh, cry, overcome and sacrifice together. They know the meaning of the word team better than most people ever will.
Those are things I tell individuals who ask me for information about what it’s like to be a firefighter. Of course, that’s just scratching the surface. I’m sure you can create your own list of why you love your profession… and I hope you do.
Be safe! Frank Viscuso