Running into a burning building is not something that you could pay me enough money to do. Even putting on a SCBA mask and air pack is not something that you could ever entice me to do. I really, truly believe that working in the fire service is a calling. It's not a job just anyone signs up for.
374 has definitely heard the call. It's something he enjoys immensely. This was absolutely apparent this weekend when wiggled his way into a training session for the Fire I class that is being held at his station currently. A good friend of his is going through the class. He was aware of their live burn trainings this weekend for the class, and after talking to the instructor he was granted permission to attend and participate with them.
Running into a building to help save property and life is one thing - you know that someone is in desperate need of your skills and help. However, to willingly volunteer to walk into a burning structure because it's something you ENJOY doing is something I can not fathom. The night before I was so nervous. He's putting himself in this situation willingly. It's not even his training. I couldn't comprehend WHY. Then it hit me - THIS IS WHAT HE'S CALLED TO DO. He's doing this to better prepare himself for those situations that are not a controlled environment. If there was ever a time to NOT be nervous about him donning his gear and walking through fire, it's now. I had to remind myself of this again that next morning as he left, but the rest of the day it was not something I worried about.
As a family member of a firefighter, especially when you are new to the lifestyle, it can be scary and unnerving whether they are running off to a call, or attending a training. In your mind fire is fire whether it's planned or not. It's true that things CAN go wrong during trainings - the are not fool-proof, but it's these trainings that help keep them safe when it's a fully involved structure fire. It's these trainings that you want to keep in the back of your mind when the tension is high when he's out on a long call. Just as they learn to trust their training and knowledge, YOU have to learn to trust his training and knowledge.
This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, but it's one I'm beginning to feel a lot more comfortable with. This fall will mark his third year on the department. He attends any training he can fit into his schedule. He has attended weekend long trainings at a college that are put on each year for any firefighter in our region. The trainings and search for more knowledge never stops. I've realized it's a very fluid thing - they are always finding new and better ways of doing things. There's always room for improvement. New products come out on the market. When training and the desire to grow is gone, safety is not in the forefront of their mind. Things can go wrong at any time, whether they train every day or twice a year - but if they are not constantly honing their skills there's a bigger gap for error.
If there's one thing I can feel secure with it's his desire to learn and grow and improve as a firefighter. Not only to ensure his safe return home to us at the end of a call, but also to provide the best service he can for his community. With all that said, I can assure you that I will have to remind myself of this post from time to time. It's a hard thing to remember when you hear the tones drop. I may just have to print this post out for myself and hang it on my refrigerator. I encourage you to remind yourself of this post if you are new to the fire life, if you are considering entering the lifestyle, or if you are a seasoned wife who may just be nervous over a call that may be out of the ordinary. They trust and live by their training - you can too.