On July 18th, 2012 the first day of Firefighter 1 and Firefighter Survival, Instructor Menge went around our classroom and asked each one of us why we chose to be a firefighter. when it came to me I wasn’t quite sure how to answer the question, so at the time, I gave the basic general same answer most people would say. After thinking about that question over the past three months, I have finally found an answer.
I joined the fire service because of the challenge, to be ultimately fireproof. I don’t just mean the challenge of putting out a fire, it is so much more than that. I wanted to face all of the challenges, facing the challenge as my tones go out, and my wife not understanding why I won’t be home for dinner. The challenge of my little girl asking me where I have been all night when I have been at a two-story structure fire. I wanted to face the challenge of entering a building to help rescue a child, or someones loved one, not to be a hero, but for each person I help in a raging fire, I in reality am saving myself, from life’s challenges, from the past, and burning the tragic memories I have faced in the military. Do I like the rush, sure, however I don’t wish fire upon anyone. But if it happens, I will be there to stand by my brothers and extinguish a burning blaze that is someones personal possessions, and everything that they have worked hard for. The hardest challenge of them all, I faced in your class. On the last day there were two tasks that had to be completed, and both of them my worst two fears. Claustrophobia and Heights. Task one, blindfolded I had to crawl through the building following a hose, breach a wall, and escape. Task two, jump from a second story window, with just a piece of rope. If I had it to do again I would, you and instructor Harrigan instilled the faith I needed that day, and I was able to complete them both. Crawling through the burn house blindfolded I couldn’t breathe even with my SCBA, but I knew I had to keep going, I knew that it was only a few minutes and I would be outside and breathing normal again. By facing those fears, I realized that I could face nearly anything, it brought me back to being in the military, overcoming the odds and returning home.
To be fireproof, I don’t mean it in the way you would think, because steal hot enough will bend, however I mean get in, and get oust safe with my buddy next to me, proof that I faced the fire, no injuries, all safe.
So if I had the chance to stand up in class and be asked again, Why did you become a firefighter, this is what I would say.