Fear. That feeling of uncertainty, doubt and despair that people get when situations are out of control; there is danger in their lives either physically, emotionally or economically. Part of our job (as we all know) involves putting our lives in inherently dangerous situations for the well-being of those who are at most in need. I have come up in this service within the past 10 years, and in this time I have began to notice a certain mentality that is beginning to come into this service with the in-coming generation, a "fearless" mentality. Don't get me wrong, most firefighters are smart, most firefighters are typically brave and most firefighters have the ability to harness and control their emotions, but the last thing I know ANY intelligent firefighter to be is "fearless".
Fire is one of the most destructive forces on the face of the earth, accounting for billions of dollars of damages, ends thousands of lives annually and has the potential to be very unpredictable and mercilessly lethal. Any firefighter that is not afraid of this force does not respect what it can do to them, if they do not respect what fire can do to them, they do not understand what destructive potential fire truly has. Normally, this mentality is found within recruits and often wears off within the first couple of years and after a few jobs, they begin to understand and this needless arrogance fades into the distance.
As a firefighter, I have often been asked if I love fighting fire? Yes sir I do! Do I love going inside the gates of hell, in situations that no normally clothed person could find tenable to risk my life to do my job? You bet I do, I live for it. Am I afraid of what the outcome may be? Abso-freaking-loutely! If you are afraid of something, anything; you posses a greater insight for your surroundings, you are much more calculating in your actions and are less likely to have an error than someone who does not grasp what the ramifications of their actions may be. Fear doesn't have to be shaking in your boots, fear doesn't have to be "whimping" out at the door prior to making entry, fear can be simply acknowledging that you may not make it out alive, but putting your trust in your particular diety that YOU will make the correct decisions and that you will get to go home.
The way I see it, you can admit the truth, suck it up and get to work or you can get off the rig!
Be smart, Be Aggressive!
- LT. S!