We Wish You Could Know
We wish you could know what it is like to search a burning
bedroom for trapped children at , with
flames rolling above your head, your palms and knees burning as you crawl, the
floor sagging under your weight as the kitchen below you burns.
We wish you could comprehend a wife's horror at 6 in the morning as we check her husband of 40 years for a pulse and find none. We start CPR anyway, hoping to bring him back, knowing intuitively it is too late; but wanting his wife and family to know that everything possible was done to try to save his life.
We wish you knew the unique smell of burning insulation, the taste of soot-filled mucus, the feeling of intense heat through your turnout gear, the sound of flames crackling, the eeriness of being able to see absolutely nothing in dense smoke-sensations that we've become too familiar with.
We wish you could read our minds as we respond to a building fire: "Is this a false alarm or a working fire? How is the building constructed? What hazards await us? Is anyone trapped?"
Or to an emergency medical call: "What is wrong with the patient? Is it minor or life-threatening? Is the caller really in distress or is he waiting for us with a 2 X 4 or a gun?"
We wish you could be in the emergency room as a doctor pronounces dead a beautiful five-year old girl that we have been trying to save during the past 25 minutes, who will never go on her first date or say the words, "I Love you Mommy" again.
We wish you could know the frustration we feel in the cab of the engine, squad or our personal vehicle, the driver with his foot pressing down hard on the pedal, the officer’s arm tugging again and again at the air horn chain, as you fail to yield the right-of-way at an intersection or in traffic. When you need us however, your first comment upon our arrival will be, "It took you forever to get here!"
We wish you could know our thoughts as we help extricate a girl of teenage years from the remains of her automobile. "What if this was your daughter, your sister, your girlfriend or a friend? What will her parents’ reaction be when they open the door to find a police officer with hat in hand?"
We wish you could know how it feels to walk in the back door and greet your parents and family, not having the heart to tell them that you nearly did NOT come back from the last call.
We wish you could know how it feels to dispatch police officers, firefighters, and EMT's and when we call for them our heart drops because no one answers back; or to hear a bone chilling 911 call of a child or wife needing assistance.
We wish you could feel the hurt as people verbally, and sometimes physically, abuse us or belittle what we do, or, as they express their attitudes of "It will never happen to us."
We wish you could realize the physical, emotional, and mental drain of missed meals, lost sleep and forgone social activities, in addition to all the tragedy our eyes have seen.
We wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of helping to save a life or preserving someone's property, or being able to be there in a time of crisis, or helping to create order from total chaos.
We wish you could understand what it feels like to have a little boy tugging at your arm and asking, "Is Mommy okay?" Not even being able to look in his eyes without having tears in your own and not knowing what to say. Or to have to hold back a long time friend who watches his buddy having CPR done on him as they take him away in the Medic Unit. You know all along he did not have his seat belt on; a sensation that we have become all too familiar with.
Unless you have lived this kind of life, you will never truly understand or appreciate who we are or what our job really means to us........We wish you could though.
Join your local Volunteer Fire Department or
Emergency Services Organization and help us save a life!