I don't know if fear would be a good use of word. I've found that if you fear something you will usually get hurt by it. I don't like snakes and if I come close to one I usually hurt myself tring to get away and in the process of getting away I run into another one or hurt myself.
The Fire Service is full of snakes. Respect them and react in a respectfull manner and you may get away without getting hurt. Respecting everything in the fire service and the things we do has helped me through the years. Respect for everything from PPEs to the people I work with, to the people I serve. Understanding and knowing the equipment for what it can do and it limitations, then push it no farther unless you have to. Respect the people you work with know their limitations, likes, dislikes, and their buttons you don't want to push, and they will help you do your best. Respect the people you server and treat them properly and they will more likely not turn on you. Although there are those that always have bad days and there is nothing you can do to change it.
The things I dread: notifying a family member of an injury or death of a fellow employee (done that, been there, several times, and don't want to do it again). Falling from high places (I don't bounce the way I use to). Getting burnt (healing takes a long time and at my age that maynot be long). Screwing up at a incident scene (no one really wants to do it, but sometimes no one else wants to do it either and you have to). Getting called to City Hall or before the Fire Board for something someone else has done (I had no control of what they did at the time they did it, but still have to correct the problem).
But, my biggest one: What happens to my family if I don't come home.
I agree, Pump operation. It's not that I don't have the skills, I've done it hundreds of times AT DRILL! However I've never had to drive an engine to a working fire. Thus I've never had to be pump operator on a scene. I'm not sure I would be quite as calm at a fire scene as I' am at drill
I do have some fears when it comes to the firefighting service.
Throughout my life I have helped my father doing roofing over the Summers for some extra income. I was never too keen on going up ladders and getting onto and off of the roof. One night at my department's probationary training we took a ladder and went up what had to be 40 feet on top of a vacant Home Depot. To top it off it was aluminum roofing, it was nighttime, and the roof still had condensation, making it somewhat slippery. Going up wasn't bad since I was told to take the truck bucket up. But on the way down I was ordered to take the ladder, and it was one of the scariest moments of my life. But it did make me stronger, I will admit.
At another training we were learning to lock our legs into the rungs of the ladder. After we locked in we were told to lean back as far as we can go. I knew I wouldn't fall, but the pressure from leaning back and gravity made it pretty scary.
I don't like ladders too much, but when I have to go up one I'll bite the bullet and handle it.
Another fear I have, as stated here, is going to a call and seeing that a loved one is involved. I don't particularly like seeing people in pain, but seeing someone I know and am close with in pain would throw my focus offpoint.
My last fear is messing up or getting repremanded for something that I accidentally did, or something that is comlpetely ridiculous. I love being in the department, and it would be hard on me if I got kicked out.
I totally understand your comment on the fear of pumping! I was that way about performing as the engineer on the engine and the ladder (I operate on a double company). However, I have found that I have operated very well under the pressure and I think that most will as long as they are properly trained and continue to learn. Their assurance will come once put in battle and realize that confidence comes with experience.
As for me, my biggest fear is occupational cancer or any cancer for that matter. It may seem weird, but it bothers me almost every day when I learn about someone else who has cancer or who has died of cancer. For instance, I learned today of a brother in a neighboring department whose wife was just diagnosed with brain stem cancer. It seems as though cancer kills or strickens so many firefighters. I am fearful of it almost to the point of obsessing about it. It isn't healthy at all, but it is a real threat for so many firefighters.
I have had this terible dream several times of me responding to this house and hearing the occupants screaming for help when I pull up to this fully involved house fire. I attempt to get to them but can not help them. The dream always ends that way. Me not being able to help them. I pray that I never have to ever deal with this dream in reality.