Thursday, February 4, 2016
A strange title for a blog about firefighting, eh? Read on and let's see if some of you will know what I'm talking about.
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"Now, back to our program..."
I've been out of active firefighting since 1985, after starting in 1977. That means that I've been out for a long, long time. I left for two reasons:
1. My injured knee (after three surgeries since 1978 at that time) prevented me from being on the front line. I was "reduced" to handling video for the department on drills and calls, a town Fire Marshall and a member of our Fire-Police unit. I truly enjoyed all three!
2. We were relocating to South Florida in the City of Hollywood, which has a career department. There were still a few volunteer departments, but none of them close enough for me to be an active member of any type.
At the start, it wasn't too bad. We had never lived in Florida before and I was in a new job. The first few months kept me busy and focused, though maybe not one hundred percent. You see, I was still keeping a BLS jump kit in my car, just as I had for the previous eight years. And for some reason, I wound up showing up at a bad scene right on time and was able to render emergency care until first responders arrived. And after a few months, when life had settled down, I started missing the "Red Devil."
I've often used (or overused) the old saying, "You can take the boy out of the firehouse, but you can't take the firehouse out of the boy!" And I use it because it's true for a lot of us. I miss being a firefighter, being an EMT, being a first responder. I miss the camaraderie, the joking around, the practice, the learning and the excitement of the response.
If you're still young and active, skip this next paragraph! If not...read on!
Now, you....yes YOU! Get up and walk over to the nearest mirror. Look at the person in the mirror. Watch carefully as he/she looks back at you. Now ask the image, "Do I miss the old days or have I put it all behind me?" So, what was the answer? I know what it was and what it will continue to be. The answer is, "Yes!"
What to do about it, is the next question. I can't answer that for you, but I can tell you what I've done. And when you finish reading this post, go back through this blog and read the earlier posts. I, along with my best friend (whom I had met at the first fire department where we volunteered in NC) decided the fire service deserved to be on television. We started our company, Dalmatian Productions, Inc., with but one aim, to create a reality show about America's Heroes: The Men & Women of Fire/Rescue. Catchy phrase, huh? Good. That was actually the name of our first show. Along with our two additional partners, Tom and Jesse, we've all kept this goal in mind ever since then. And though we've had to let go of the "reality" aspect, we're still working hard to bring a fire show, a damned good fire show to TV.
But that's not all I've done to "feed the beast." For example, in every city I visit I attempt to visit at least one firehouse. I stop in, say hello and chew the fat for a short while. It brings back the good feelings. I feel like "one of the gang" again.
And to really drive the stake in deep, I did something much worse, I wrote a book about my first four years in fire-rescue. I'm basically finished with the writing and now in the process of editing. I've included a lot of the experiences I had there, the good calls, the ones that sucked, the dangerous calls and the fun times in the firehouse.
The funny thing about editing what you've written is that your forced to re-read it over and over again, correcting errors, adding missing words.....and reliving all the stories all over again. And again. And again.
And it's through this exercise that I've come to the conclusion that there's absolutely nothing wrong with how I feel....with how you feel, if you're in the same position I've been in. You know, we're very lucky to have done what we did and what we loved.
Stay Safe and Remember, Every One Goes Home!