Do you hear that?
That is the sound of despair, hopelessness and fear. It is your victim.
They can’t get out without your help. The few minutes that have passed has emptied them of any hope that they will get out alive.
Blinding smoke, searing heat…what they are drowning in is what we flourish in; it ignites us and excites us, not because we want it to, but because Fire forces so many conditioned responses and extraordinary actions and tests our most primal instincts. We must rescue our fellow humans AND survive while doing it.
There is no “fight or flight”. It is more like “stay and pray”.
Your victim doesn’t want to die alone, but they don’t want anyone else to die like that, either. They are hoping that, if they are not rescued in time, then at least, in their final moments, they will hear the soothing voice of their God whispering forgiveness into their ear and then open the gate to their eternal peace.
You will move swiftly, stopping for a split second to gauge your own mortality and then push forward, because you have seen the face of your victim. You have looked into their eyes; the windows into their soul and the pain and anguish that you see is the fuel that you use to give you strength.
Their face could be your face or the face of someone that you know. It matters not, because they are a victim. You HAVE to get to them in time. Otherwise; you can only hope that they slip into an unconsciousness that will numb their senses to the horrific effects that only Fire can produce.
You cannot bear that thought. You have made your decision. You have committed your team. You have not only trained for this moment, but you have lived for this moment; a moment in which you could die!
You may hear the roar of the fire over the pounding of your heart. You will hear the water shooting from the nozzle and splashing against the walls and ceiling with terrific force. If you close your eyes, it almost sounds like you’re taking your car through the automatic spray carwash.
You will hear every step, every breath, the sound of the vent saw, a ladder hitting the side of the house, the sound of glass breaking and the radio chatter over the PA speaker on the engine.
There could be several endings to this, but one thing is certain; risk a lot to save a life is in our mission.
This is a scenario that has played out in our heads and in our communities for decades.
No nobler profession than that of firefighter!
The desperation, contemplation, exhilaration, extrication, celebration; it’s a roller coaster ride of emotion for victim and rescuer.
So, my question to you is this: why would you risk it all on an abandoned, unoccupied, vacant, dilapidated, dangerous piece of property that has no soul, no heart, no gratitude and only hate and contempt for those who dare to enter? See: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200837.html.
Or would you?
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