Happy Saint Paddy’s day. Today is the day where everyone’s Irish and you have an excuse to start drinking at breakfast.
Shane told us the other day about the fire at his property and the firefighters that came and put the fire out. I’m writing this too late to ask him, so I tried looking up the Fire Dept’s in his area. It looks like the departments outside of the Urbana metro area are volunteer departments. I think it’s cool that Shane went down to the station to thank them for coming out and taking care of the fire.
The majority of Fire Dept’s in the United States are volunteer, though there’s probably a higher percentage of the population that is served by career departments because dense population centers are almost exclusively serviced by paid firefighters.
While volunteer emergency responders appreciate any thanks and words of appreciation, the primary reason they do what they do is simply because they love doing it.
They love the excitement, the energy, the challenge and the break in monotony: Think for a minute about any day during the last week or month. For most people nothing happened that was unexpected. They all went about their boring lives doing what they did the day before.
Now imagine you live in Shane’s area, you just got home from working at the local ACME, stocking the same shelves you stocked the day before. The pager and alarm goes off for a large brush fire threatening a house. You race to the station, jump on the engine and head to the dispatched address. On your way there you see the large thermal column and know you’ll be going to work in some capacity. Maybe it’s not a house fire, but it doesn’t matter, something is burning and that’s a hell of a lot better than the automatic fire alarm you ran yesterday.
Maybe I’m oversimplifying this but you get the idea, volunteers give there time to help others, but also because it’s exciting and adds something to their lives.
There are hurdles to maintaining a volunteer firefighting force, with the main one being the amount of time invested at the beginning to get the training they need. While this isn’t for everyone, maybe it’s something that you might consider doing. If you’re a little restless and tired of the same old boring routine everyday, give it a shot. I started as a volunteer when I was 17 and still volunteer even though they pay me to do the same thing.
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