Thursday, September 11th, 2014 8:09 am
By James R. Dennison
of the Leatherhead Instructors
Firefighters have a second family that most people know nothing about. These families are unknown to everyday working folks, people that view their counterparts as co-workers, or that dread having to deal with people at the office or factory. What we have is rare, awesome, and yet difficult.
Our days at the station revolve around conversation, meals, television, and responding to the emergencies in our communities. Many of our calls bring stress, emotions, anger, and disappointment; the relationships that we have with our brothers and sisters is what gets us through it. We spend time talking about calls and somehow those conversations help diffuse the feelings that we have formed from the emergency. The ability to have conversations with people that know exactly what you are felling is rare. Many of the stories, conversations, counseling sessions, or whatever you want to call it never leave the firehouse. This prevents a lot of problems in our personal relationships with our husbands, wives, or children.
Many meals, joking, and general good times take place at the station. Many departments across America have long standing traditions regarding meals and partaking together. Some places have a steady cook, or crew members take turns cooking, or maybe your big meal together is lunch instead of dinner. Whatever the regimen is, it is taken seriously! Meals bring people together, and this is no different at the station.
Down time is spent playing cards, shooting hoops, working out, studying, or watching television. You will rarely find a member of a crew hanging out alone when all the work is done. There are always stories to share about your kids, vacation plans, or whatever is going on daily at home. The relationships formed at the firehouse are unlike any other.
The firehouse contains many people from different walks of life with different views; there are going to be times where you butt heads. The realization that life is truly fragile almost always helps the disagreements blow by. Rarely do you find firefighters behaving in an unacceptable manner to resolve a conflict. The reality is that you get out of these relationships what you put into them. Unlike most jobs, I guarantee that each firefighter has a unique story to tell regarding their decision to do the job.
I find myself quite thankful to be part of such an amazing profession, with amazing people, and I hope that you do too.
Stay safe and train hard!