5 stresses firefighters deal with that others don’t know about

5 stresses firefighters deal with that others don’t know about

We love this job and thank the good fortune that was bestowed upon us that we are firefighters.

And what‘s not to love? We eat like kings, occasionally get paid to sleep and watch TV, have a home away from home and form friendships like no other. It‘s as good a life as anybody could expect.

We proudly display our union stickers on our cars, and most of us have a few fire department T-shirts in our wardrobe. The public respects us, and we have earned it. We know this, and believe in ourselves for the most part, but nothing in our lives is absolutely perfect.

There is always the chance that something will happen that we have no control over. And it’s those fears that keep us up at night.

Every firefighter holds a few secrets that they typically keep to themselves.

1. THE WEIGHT OF RESPONSIBILITY THAT WE BEAR IS CRUSHING.

5 Stresses Firefighters Deal With That Non-Firefighters Should Know About. weight of responsibility

Maintaining the illusion of an aloof but invincible know-it-all, can-do firefighter is work. Believe it or not, we do it not for ourselves, but for those who depend on us.

Firefighters are always on duty. There is no down time. The mind is never at rest. People depend on us to know what to do when they don‘t. There are a million things that could go wrong at any second, and firefighters are expected to perform. We keep this knowledge buried for the most part, but it is always there.

2. WE ARE NOT BORN WITH THE KNOWLEDGE NECESSARY TO BE GOOD FIREFIGHTERS.

5 Stresses Firefighters Deal With That Non-Firefighters Should Know About. constant training

We have the aptitude for the job, but that’s not enough. It needs to be nurtured and constantly challenged. There is a word for what needs to be done to ensure competence: training.

And training never ends. It is as constant as breathing. When a skill is learned, it needs to re-learned at every available moment. There is always something new to perfect, and perfection is elusive. The training is the foundation that everything else depends upon. Having the skills to perform embedded in you through repetition helps when the real deal comes your way.

3. FEAR OF FAILURE IS THE GREATEST UNSPOKEN FEAR THAT EVERY FIREFIGHTER CARRIES WITH THEM.

5 Stresses Firefighters Deal With That Non-Firefighters Should Know About. fear of failure

We border on arrogance, saunter through town like we own the place, respond to emergencies with a can-do” confidence and bask in the glow of public confidence. But in the middle of the night, when there is nobody but you and the thoughts that run through your mind, things are not so clear.

A million scenarios play out before you, and you question whether or not you have what it takes to respond. The what-if game knows no end.

  • What if the train that usually rolls through town unnoticed derails, and a toxic cloud of chlorine gas and anhydrous ammonia escapes?
  • What if the baby that normally sleeps through the night is found not breathing at three in the morning?
  • What if a truck carrying scrap metal takes the Thurber‘s Avenue curve too quickly and rolls onto a car full of college kids, trapping them, cutting them to shreds, and all you can do is watch them bleed to death while the crane that will free them slowly creeps up Rt. 95?
  • What if the kid who decided to hang himself changed his mind at the last second, and you arrived a second too late?
  • What if the fire is too hot, and a family of five burns to death 3 feet from where you stand, charged hoseline in hand, unable to get even 1 inch closer, and the echo of their screams is all that is left of them when you finally force the door?

Failure is not an option. There is no “nice try” in firefighting. There is success and there is failure.

Success is what makes firefighting great. Failure is soul-crushing, confidence stealing, character-destroying misery — it’s the greatest unspoken fear that every firefighter carries with them.

4. WE LIVE WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THE RISK OF DEVELOPING CANCER IS EXTREMELY HIGH.

5 Stresses Firefighters Deal With That Non-Firefighters Should Know About. risk of cancer

Nobody wants to die. The myth that we will die so that others may live is just that, a myth. What we will do is take ridiculous chances at rescuing people — if, and only if, there is a chance we will come out alive. None of the firefighters who die in fires, collapses, accidents or explosions do so willingly. It is an insult to the integrity of life to think otherwise.

But die we do. Most often it isn‘t during a daring rescue, where images of a heroic firefighter are flashed across the screens of an adoring public. Most often we die alone, in bed, in agony, pain numbed by morphine, with a few people by our side, the ones that stayed with us during the struggle, when the lights are gone, and the cameras no longer roll.

We die from cancer. The things that burn emit toxins that we breathe in long after the fire is out.

  • The diesel fumes in the station that no system can capture.
  • The million and one chemicals that are created when a car catches fire.
  • The asbestos we breathe.
  • The dust that settles in our lungs and on our skin.

5. THE THINGS WE SEE IN THIS PROFESSION ARE WORSE THAN YOU COULD IMAGINE.

5 Stresses Firefighters Deal With That Non-Firefighters Should Know About. the things you see as a firefighter
Going to work knowing that there is a very good chance something will happen that will eat away at your soul becomes business as usual. Mentally preparing yourself to face death, disfigurement, madness and disease becomes the norm, while working or not.

It eats away at your humanity, your compassion, and your ability to love freely and without guile. The feeling of impending doom will always be with you, consciously or subconsciously, it matters not; what does matter is how you handle it.

The toughest among us are actually not that tough at all, they are simply the healthiest. Those who joke about the dead and make small talk of the mentally unstable are those of us who suffer the most and disguise their hurt with bravado. The rest of us just cope, and get through each day the best we can.

Firefighting is more than a way to make a living. It‘s a way of life. But nothing in life is free.

Even those who are fortunate enough to have the greatest job in the world know the price we pay, but for the benefit of those we love and those we protect and serve, we keep it to ourselves.

And it‘s killing us, slowly but surely.

Some Cool Things to Do in Abbotsford

Awesome Things To Do In Abbotsford

Abbotsford is indeed quite a beautiful and historic city. It is an agricultural community too and there are numerous things that you can do when you visit it. Abbotsford is considered the bread basket of Vancouver and has plentiful dairies and farms. Other than having a lot of wonderful dairies, Abbotsford is also home to raspberries and blueberries as well. However it must be noted that Abbotsford is not just an agricultural community and has plenty of culture and history as well.

Abbotsford is a community based on different cultures; it has the South Asian Community, the Chinese and the Europeans. There are some historic sites like the hundred year old Gur Sikh temple. The structure reflects the hard work and toil of the Indian people. The building is a National Historic Site in Abbotsford now.

Abbotsford has a diverse culture and it also is host to a multicultural festival to bring all the communities together. This article provides some cool and fun things to do during your visit to this beautiful town in British Columbia, Canada.

Read the complete article to learn more!

Abbotsford is also a sports haven, being tagged “Sports Town” for the number of facilities available such as ice rinks, soccer pitches, indoor and outdoor courts, and swimming pools.  It’s also a pinnacle stop on the trade-show circuit for shows like the RV Show, the Classic Car Show, the Horticultural Show, Antique Markets and Christmas shows. So you can sample the freshly produced, the locally made, the homespun, and then you can explore the rest of the platter that is being offered to you in Abbotsford: the history, the culture, and the activity.

Fun Things to Do in Abbotsford for Kids

The Reptile Guy

Mike Hopcraft is the kind of guy who knows that even the most exotic creatures have feelings too. It’s not just the cute fuzzy ones. The Reptile Guy houses rescues and those creatures that have been surrendered to him and he’s made it his life’s work to protect those most misunderstood by us: snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, and spiders, and to educate us about them.

Fun Things to Do in Abbotsford for Teens

Bowling & Billiards

“Well, ya got trouble, my friend … right here in River City … Trouble with a capital “T” and that rhymes with “P” and that stands for pool.”

Remember The Music Man? Well, thankfully, there’s not that stigma about the pool hall anymore.  (Although, I suppose if you’re a teenager, you wish there was.) Anyway, come hang out at the “pool hall” and the bowling alley with your pals.  Snooker. Pool. Arcade games, pinball. So hard to not be cool ‘round these parts.

Fun Things to Do in Abbotsford for Families

Silverbrook U-Catch Trout

Back in the day, it was a stick and a string and a poor wriggly worm.  And you had to hike uphill both ways in the snow in bare feet.  Well, you’re in luck, at Silverbrook U-Catch, there’s a rod with your name on it (well, it doesn’t really have your name on it; you’ll have to share), a lake with your fish in it (really), and, chances are good, you don’t have to hike uphill both ways to get there.  You even get to take your catch home with you for dinner! Yummy! Hope Granddad’s around for the gutting!

EcoDairy

Ever wanted to know where your milk comes from? Or teach your children that the milk doesn’t just arrive in plastic jugs? The EcoDairy is the first demonstration farm in Canada.  In partnership with Science World, you can test your skills at milking a cow, meet the girls (i.e., cows) who give you your tasty beverage, watch the girls (i.e., cows) give their hair (coat) a brushing at the rotating cow brush.  You can even shovel manure if you want! Turn it into a feat of strength.

Fun Things to Do in Abbotsford for Grownups

Tretheway House Heritage Site

There’s a reason books like Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series are so popular – we love to have the past recreated for us.  It’s not the Scottish Highlands, but come see what life for a Canadian lumber baron was like in the 1920s, both in the house and gardens, and then take a stroll around beautiful Mill Lake.

Duft & Co. Bakehouse

Don’t go to their website. No, don’t.  You don’t want to see those pictures.  Really. I’m only saying this for your own protection – you’ll get your laptop wet.  Fine, you asked.  Fresh, handmade cinnamon buns, almond croissants, bread pudding, lemon sugar buns, this privately owned artisanal bakery in Historic Downtown Abbotsford has all this and more, and then there’s the lunch menu!  Stop by for a delicious and addictive experience.

Mountain Biking on Sumas Mountain

Maybe you’re hungry for adventure, adrenaline, and excitement?  The Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association can put you on the right path for that with any one of their network of trails across the Fraser Valley.

You can read the complete article here.