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Fire and emergency rescue service is one of the most diverse and challenging professions today. We are a paramilitary profession working in a “hurry up and wait” environment. It is the diversity that inspires most men and women to enter the service, both as volunteers and career employees. Imagine having to train to prepare yourself to cope with situations which range from building fires to childbirth to hazardous chemical spills to heart attacks, and almost any imaginable emergency situation in between. This diversity is coupled with the fact that these skills may be needed at any time of the day, seven days a week, in any kind of weather and very often under potentially stressful and emotional circumstances. These challenges contribute to our profession being personally rewarding.
We are here for two basic purposes. The first is to prevent fires or medical emergencies from occurring. This is achieved through fire prevention, health maintenance education, inspections, fire safety education, and code enforcement programs. Secondly, should prevention fail, we are here to prepare ourselves to control fire or medical emergencies. This is done through education, training, pre-incident planning, and the use state-of-the-art equipment. This business is not for everyone. You need more than just a desire to help people. You need courage and dedication, assertiveness, and a willingness to learn new skills and face new challenges. And you need to have the time for training sessions, meetings, emergency calls, maintenance of equipment, and other duties. The fire and rescue service are not for the meek or timid or for those who lose control during times of crises. Our service is one which calls on its members to perform hot, sweaty, dirty, and strenuous work, often in uncertain and hazardous environments.
The personal rewards and satisfaction received from fire and emergency service are often beyond description. There is a sense of accomplishment after controlling a building fire, joy and elation when a child is born, compassion for accident victims, and fulfillment in teaching fire safety. The list of rewards is virtually endless. The bottom line in our business is measured by the loss of life, pain and suffering, and property damage we have prevented or reduced.
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