Well for me I have loved this "business" since i was a youngster. I live a block away from the station so I can rember when the siren went off i'd rush over to the window and watch all the men rush over to the station jump on the trucks and head out!
I was always captivated how when the siren goes off people come from where ever and drop everything to help in most cases people we dont even know!
I have always had this saying "that the you don't pick the job the job picks you!" We are a different breed of people we care when others could careless! It's not always easy but that's why I love it.
I believe this is Gods calling for me and my way to help others.I had to leave my dept when I was youger because of my job,just not enough time in the day for my family,job and the fire co.The desire and the yearning never left.I returned almost twenty years later with more desire,a stronger commitment and a promise never to leave again until God calls me home.It's in my heart,soul,blood and now, my Family!!Glod Bless all who put their lives on the line everyday so that others may live!
I would have to say that it started late for me. As opposed to many here, I was not around the fire department scene since I was young. My Great-Grandfather that I had the priveledge of knowing for the first 13 years of my life was with one of our local departments for a very long time. I didn't learn this until I came home from the Army and got into firefighting myself (coincidentally, I took my FF1 class at the department that he belonged to.). Anyway, as I have shown on my profile, I was in the Army for just under 5 years. I had left for basic training 10 days after graduating high school and was in basic when the 9/11 tragedy took place. I spent a year in Iraq as a member of the personal security detachment for my Suadron Commander and Sergeant Major. Once I returned home, one of the guys I worked with and also knew from high school brought up the fire service to me. I took a couple of days thinking about it and my thoughts brought me to this conclusion. This is the only place that I will have a brotherhood like that of the Army, the only place where I'll get to help people in my hometown through my service, the only place where I'll ever fill the void of any "excitement" I had in the Army. It seemed like the only logical step once I got home and I will always be proud that I took it. I love firefighting because I am a service oriented person. I do not "toot my own horn" often, but I would have to describe myself as needing to provide services that others will not. Please do not take that as a statement of cockiness or anything of the sort. I am simply saying that there are many jobs that people wouldn't do (this being a prime example) and that they are the types of things that I love to do. I've had friends ask me why I would volunteer myself to do something so risky, telling me that they would never want to do this or that they just aren't right for it. In their defense, it isn't criticism, it is them wondering why I do this. I can only tell them that it is what I love to do. As I put in my profile, there is no better feeling than being able to help someone in an immediate time of great need. That is why I truly love firefighting.
My dad join the LPVFD a year after i was born. As i grew up the members of that dept. were my family, like having 80 uncles. When time came for me to join, it was just taken for granted it was where I belonged. Those firefighters now became my mentors and then my brothers. Now 30 years has flown by, most of my old menters gone, I'm with a different department, I've served with hundreds of heroes. they haven't all performed some couragous deed, but they're heroes to me. I have love for them all, even when i'm mad as hell at someone. All of 1 heart, service to others, supporting each other.
I couldn't imagine doing anything else.... I too as a youngster and was facinated by the rushing firefighters, and trucks what youngsters arn't...???? As I got older some of my friends joined because thier fathers belonged. As they got more, and more into it I would see thier enthusiasim, and sometimes I would respond with them... Once the bug sunk its teeth into me I joined, and I still to this day can't understand what took me so long....
For me it's having the training, and the know how to help people in any kind of situation... It's also the camaraderie, and the family you make... Don't forget the adranaline rush too....
It started for me when i was very young like 3 or 4 years old and my father would take me to my grandparents house and my father and grandfather would talk about the fires they had when they were on and it really hit me when i was 5 i was in kindegarten during fire prevention week and the guys let us play with the lights and sirens on the rescue truck and a couple of years later i heard on the police scanner that they got called across the street from my house for a car fire i looked out my window and sure enough flames were shooting out when they pulled up and went to work that was it for me i wanted it. when i turned 15 my father would drive me to a few fires in town and when i turned 18 i started hanging out at my current firehouse filled out the application and 3 years later im proud to be there more then anything.
I started as a jr ff and rose thru the ranks to jr chief all because all my friends where doing it. well im a lot older now and deputy chief of a dept. i think i would have to agree with most its the friendship u earn and yes i said earn because u cant trust everybody to go into a burning building with u.
There are a myriad of reasons why I love the job.... but to quote the original post... "The job picks you" is dead on. I also wanted to try making a difference.
Once I got in, the fascination, the addiction, the attachment, the camaraderie, the Brotherhood, and... the rush... all kicked in. The opportunity to grow in the job and to keep learning has lasted 37 years...and counting. I have had the opportunity to serve in nearly every position in the department, and am honored to to have served as Chief since 1995... and counting.
Only folks in the job can really understand the concept of Brotherhood and Sisterhood that I have found in the fire service.... My "Pay the bills" job is in law enforcement, and the family is just not the same.
The fire service is not what I do, it is who I am....