Since becoming a firefighter, I have become more organised, I am more punctual, I am healthier, and I would even go so far as to say that I feel the empathy I have for other people has increased.
Whether this is because I have become more aware as I have matured, or it is in part a direct result of the experiences I have had as a firefighter and the people I have come into contact with, I do not know.
The way I look at it, and for whatever reason, people call us because they need us. It might be our 3rd, 4th, or 5th call of the day, but this is their one call, and it could be the only time in their whole life that they ever ask for us. So we had better give them everything we have.
There is a good chance it is pretty similar to other calls we’ve attended, but this could be the worst day of their life. Not many people get invited into others’ lives when they are at their most vulnerable.
We have automatic trust bestowed upon us, earned by and inherited from our predecessors, and we owe it to them to uphold it.
I have always been fascinated by the way people’s lives intertwine with each other, and I believe every encounter is a potentially life changing event, an opportunity to make the world a better place.
As firefighters, we are uniquely placed to affect positive change, and it is our responsibility to make the most of this at every opportunity.
The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” – Muhammad Ali
Since joining the fire service, I have a different perspective on life. I appreciate things more. I appreciate the time I spend with my loved ones, because I know how easily and how quickly everything can be taken away.
It is important however, to not let this become the only perspective. We need balance, and sometimes it is important to remember not to get hung up on the details. If the details become a problem, then remember to talk to someone.
It is a mistake to bury our experiences for them only to resurface later in life.
Being a firefighter is an amazing role, and it can change your life for the better, but it can also impact us negatively. It is therefore important to recognise when this is the case so that we can act before it becomes a problem, and remember that we also need a little helping hand from time to time and that it’s okay to admit it.
Sometimes being willing to help yourself is even harder than helping someone else.
Whether you have been affected physically or mentally, there are people on hand who can offer support such as The Firefighters Charity. They work hard to provide an amazing support network for firefighters and their families. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, just as it may be asked of you.
If you think being a firefighter is the path for you, then I suggest throwing yourself into the pursuit of what will most likely be the making of you.
You will learn more about yourself than you thought possible, and that your limits probably stretch further than you ever imagined.
In my humble opinion, there are few things in life as rewarding as helping another human being or an animal, during a time of need.
Help others and give something back. I guarantee you will discover that while public service improves the lives and the world around you, its greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring your own life.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger