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Monday, December 05, 2005

A Fireman's Message


One interesting site that I find myself travelling to more often is called Roanoke Firefighters. Here is a message that the owner of the site wants as many eyes as possible to read. Thanks to the Roanoke Firefighters for making this available:

I wish you could know what it is like to search a burning bedroom for trapped children at 3 AM, flames rolling above your head, your palms and knees burning as you crawl, the floor sagging under your weight as the kitchen below you burns. I wish you could comprehend a wife's horror at 6 in the morning as I check her husband of 40 years for a pulse and find none.

I start CPR anyway, hoping to bring him back, knowing intuitively it is too late. But wanting his wife and family to know everything possible was done to try and save his life. I wish you knew the unique smell of burning insulation, the taste of soot-filled mucus, the feeling of intense heat through your turnout gear, the sound of flames crackling, the eeriness of being able to see absolutely nothing in dense smoke-sensations that I've become too familiar with. I wish you could read my mind as I respond to a building fire, Is this a false alarm or a working fire?

How is the building constructed? What hazards await me? Is anyone trapped?. Or to call and ask what is wrong with the patient? Is it minor or life threatening? Is the caller really in distress or is he waiting for us with a 2x4 or a gun? I wish you could be in the emergency room, as a doctor pronounces dead, the beautiful five-year old girl that I have been trying to save during the past 25 minutes, knowing she will never go on her first date or say the words, "I love you Mommy", ever again. I wish you could know the frustration I feel in the cab of the engine, squad, or my personal vehicle, the driver with his foot pressing down hard on the pedal, my arm tugging again and again at the air horn chain, as you fail to yield the right-of-way at an intersection or in traffic.

When you need us however, your first comment upon our arrival will be, "It took you forever to get here!" I wish you could know my thoughts as I help extricate a girl of teenage years from the remains of her automobile. What if this was my daughter, sister, my wife or a friend? What were her parents reaction going to be when they opened the door to find a police officer with hat in hand?I wish you could know how it feels to walk in the back door and greet my parents and family, not having the heart to tell them that I nearly did not come back from the last call. I wish you could know how it feels dispatching officers, firefighters and EMT's out and when we call for them and our heart drops because no one answers back or to here a bone chilling 911 call of a child or wife needing assistance.

I wish you could feel the hurt as people verbally and sometimes physically abuse us or belittle what I do, or as they express their attitudes of "It will never happen to me". I wish you could realize the physical, emotional and mental drain of missed meals, lost sleep and forgone social activities, in addition to all the tragedy my eyes have seen.I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of helping save a life or preserving someone's property, or being able to be there in time of crisis, or creating order from total chaos.

I wish you could understand what it feels like to have a little boy tugging at your arm and asking, "Is my Mommy okay?", not even being able to look in his eyes without tears from your own and not knowing what to say. Or to have to hold back a long time friend who watches his buddy having CPR done on him as they take him away in the Medic Unit.You know all along he did not have his seat belt on. A sensation that I have become too familiar with. Unless you have lived with this kind of life, you will never truly understand or appreciate who I am, we are, or what our job really means to us...I wish you could though.

Picture credit: bob, from a fire in Lynchburg a couple of years back.

3 Comments:

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

God bless the firemen and firewomen, policemen and policewomen and rescue workers that put their lives on the line for the rest of us each and every day. Our society would be chaos without them.

I can not even begin to imagine the things they go through. I have never been in a fire, for which I am very grateful. But I have had assistance of rescue workers and police in my life and I am grateful for their kindness to me and my family.

The words "Thank You" don't seem adequate, but they are sincere, heartfelt and the best I have to offer.

 
At 7:48 PM, Blogger FireFleitz said...

Thanks so much for the post. This is an interesting email that I recieved. It is floating around the internet. I have also seen it posted on Firehouse Forums. Two other websites, which are regular reads of mine, have posted about this post. I read your site often. I wish Roanoke had a blog like this. A bunch of us Roanoke bloggers attempted to do something like this, but it did not work out. Good work.

Thanks for the kind words as well "mom".

Your City is lucky to have very professional and dedicated Firefighters. Although my heart is in Roanoke. I do know that if you all need anything, the Lynchburg Firefighters are there to help.

If you get a chance, swing by the local firehouse and drop of a dessert or something. Find out who your local Firemen/women are and wish them safety in protecting you. Gestures like that really go a long way.

God Bless,
FireFleitz

 
At 9:43 AM, Blogger B O B said...

Thanks for the comment firefleitz, and mom. And thank you for providing access to the email. I enjoy your site and will be adding it to our blogs we read site. We have been very lucky with the people who work on this blog, it has been just the right combination of people.

Youre suggestion of getting to know our local firefighters is a great one. I know mom is active in her community of Bedford and has friends on the Bedford Fire Dept.

And I want to thank you for both your service to your community in the Roanoke Fire Department nnd your informative blog.

 

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