The Fire Service: It All Relies On You!
In this day and age of the demands of a changing economy the fire service has been greatly affected by these changes. Or has it? We have seen fire stations closed, firefighters laid off, fire & police combined, and other creative ways to stretch the municipal dollar seemingly at the cost of the taxpayers safety. We all want more for our money yet when it comes down to it do we really count the cost of the services that are provided for us?
Do we truly value the concept of our safety until it is threatened? Someone much wiser than me summed it up this way: You cannot have a greater perspective until you have a lesser one. As a firefighter, you will fight a fire differently if you or your family has suffered the loss of a home due to a fire. As a medical professional, your care for a child is intensified if that child happens to be the same age of your daughter at home. We are in the business of serving others but if our heart is not in it we are missing out on a great opportunity.
The concept is simple. It is called empathy. You cannot truly know what someone is going through unless you have been there yourself. If you have a three year old daughter at home, like I do, and a call comes in for a cardiac arrest of a three year old girl your level of compassion, intensity, and drive is off the charts (almost to a dangerous level). How do you channel that same intensity (safely) into each moment to better serve others?
We as firefighters have to realize that the public we serve may be in drastically different circumstances than we are. That one pair of shoes that you throw out the window during overhaul maybe the only pair that person has. That one moment of compassion that you show to a lonely senior citizen in need maybe the one that lifts their spirits out of the dark. The one time you stop to show a child a fire apparatus may lead them into a career in the fire service later in life. The kindness that you show to others in their worst moments will leave a lasting impact.
Some may scoff at the value in small acts of service. I challenge you to look for ways you can encourage others, help others, and to do it with sincerity. You make a difference every day by going to work, but you can do infinitely more by showing that you truly care. Even if you have not been through their particular circumstance you can be a light in their darkness. The Fire Service is about service, so let us be servants to our fellow man in such a way that the impact we make will be measured in changed lives and that my friends is heroic.