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Old 04-02-2007, 21:20   #1
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Why do you do it?

I kind of got into this question with someone on another forum here on GT. (Not "got into it" in a bad way. I definitely think his heart was in the right place.)

However, it started me thinking...

If you're a LEO, a Firefighter, EMS...


Why do you do it?

I KNOW why I do it... and it probably isn't for the reasons many might think.

So, why do YOU do it...?

(Cross posted between the "Cop Talk" and "Firefighter/EMS Talk" forums. What can I say... I've worked both sides of the street.)

Be safe all.
The only thing you can guess about a broken
down old man... is that he is a survivor.

Last edited by JTRourke; 04-02-2007 at 21:27..
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Old 04-02-2007, 22:03   #2
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OK I guess I'll start this one.....I've always had a place for kids, less fortunate people, and anybody with a handicap...A buddy of mine got into the fire station after his mother died to give back...oneday I was in his PV and he was toned out. The rush I got from running hot for the first time was incredible, so i went to school and i got a job, so now i can do the 2 things i like most......making lots of noise and helping people. There was a couple of times i was doubting my career choice, but the first time a customer (tax payer) came down to the station she gave me a hug and a card stating she owed me her life for saving it....and OF COURSE i said what everybody wants to say oneday..."That's OK maam, I was just doing my job." and that felt really freakin' good. Just recently, my Engine crew responded to a residence on account of a 57 yr. old male with chest pain and diff. breathing (dyspnia). He was on a downhill slide fast and well on his way into forcing me to call a code. On this particular afternoon, all ALS rigs were tied up, making their response time to around 15 minutes...long story short he looked up at me in the back of that rig before i left and said "You guys saved my life, i swear you're angels with helmets covering your halo's". Anyways, i could go on and on about this all day long....the job has been very good to me...NO REGRETS!!!! so c'mon with the stories guys!
If you do what you've always done, You'll get what you've always got.
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If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything
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Old 04-03-2007, 05:07   #3
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Because the big red truck looks better, goes faster, and makes more noise than the big brown truck did at my previous job.

The 24 on, 48 off schedule attracted me.
Proud member of the "wear a helmet at work" club.
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:14   #4
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A. Began as a 17 year old with no clear direction in life.

B. Entered volunteer fire dept after friend told me that he was being taught to cut-up cars, break down doors, and put out fires. Sounded too cool to be true.

C. Volunteer Chief set clear guidlines with regards to my conduct both in and out of the firehouse. Once a fireman- always a fireman. He left it me strictly in charge, ever to walk and act as such.

D. Fell in love with riding the truck, wearing the gear, packing hose, smelling the fire when we were still blocks away.

E. Fell in love with the respect given by friends, family, the community. Developed a sense of duty to the community.

F. The path became clear- I wanted to be a career firefighter. Once the goal was established (until then I hadn't any goals,) all the obstacles became merely scenery. Nothing is better than knowing what you want to do in life.

G. Was hired at the age of 18. Pride. Purpose. Sense of accomplishment. Women seem to love Firemen. Worked for me.

H. Excellent schedule. Bought a nice car. Got an apartment. Women love firemen. Worked for me.

I. Bought a house. Got married. Have a baby. Women love firemen with babies. Nice to know it could work for me if I wanted it to. Love my wife.

J. 17 years in, promoted. Trying to set clear guidlines for young firefighters- leaving them strictly in charge to ever walk and act as such.

K. Recruiting. Always trying to repay my debt to the fire service for giving me such a wonderful life.

That's it in a nutshell.
“The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men”
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:48   #5
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Not sure if I posted it in a similar thread, but here's how it goes...

Various reasons for starting (wanting to give back, wanted to challenge myself, see if I could "hack it", I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie lol, etc.).

Reason I stay in:

About 3 years ago our firehouse was having an open house. People are allowed to walk around in the engine bay, see the trucks, etc. Mom's walking with her 5 year old child (cutest kid you ever saw), and the mom knelt down, put her arm around her girl, pointed to me, and said "look, he's a hero". That look the kid gave me along with the smile has stuck around ever since.
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Old 04-03-2007, 17:10   #6
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I basically never the left the town I grew up in. Before I got married, I lived in an apartment that was next to the firehouse in the next town over. My landlord, who ran the hunting shop below me, was a longtime member of the volunteer fire department. I spent many evenings sitting with him and others talking about fishing, hunting, and fire fighting (most of them were also firemen).

After I met and married my wife, we bought a house back in "my town". I own a small landscaping company, and know a lot of people. Another landscaper, who is a longtime volunteer fireman, talked to me a couple times about joining the local department.

I grew up in this town, married and bought a house here, and realized that I wanted to be more involved. I joined the volunteer fire department in 1996. I was impressed at who the other members were, both poor and rich, well known in town and people who I'd never seen before.

And when that tone goes off at 1:30AM in January, or 4:00PM in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner, everyone responds who is able to. I have torn apart cars to get people out, pulled bodies from burned houses, rescued cats from trees (Yep! I have done that!). Helped find the car keys that the guy dropped in the storm drain across from the fire house on a Sunday morning (as usual, myself and other members were at the FD working on stuff and doing the never ending cleaning). I have given a stuffed animal to a 5 year old boy with blood streaming down his face at a car accident. And on and on.

After all this, as I said earlier, I guess the reason that I joined is that I wanted to be more involved in the town I live in and grew up in. It has been, and continues to be, an amazing experience.
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:25   #7
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The chicks man, the chicks.

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Old 04-04-2007, 08:38   #8
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I love EMS, and I think the world of the people that do it paid or volunteer. I have pickded up my best friend on a call, and I can not say that I have ever forgot that night. I progressed from volley EMT-B to Paid EMT-P, adn now RN in the ED, and best of all they let me be in charge! I miss running calls, and the autonomy of the work s a medic. There are no words to describe seeing a cardiac arrest victim walk out of the hosp. with his faculties intact! I have seen the best in people and the worst in people. Most of all the people that are LE Fire and EMS are a cut above. To those in public service I take my hat off to you!
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Old 04-04-2007, 11:12   #9
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I started out helping a local FD with their grant writing, and a few years later I'm a flight medic. Although this progression was made with a very long series of baby steps, they sure built up alot of momentum. At this point there is so much momentum that I can't even really look back and figure out why. All I can do is try to formulate my next self-imposed challenge. FTO? Soon. RN? Maybe, but I like the autonomy of being a paramedic. MD? In a heartbeat if I can figure out how to finance another 6 years.
"It's not just a hole, it's art. It represents anger." -D25

"i puke real regular. it's healthy. three or four times a year probably. good to get your innards out and warshmoff...." -mitchshrader
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Old 04-04-2007, 17:10   #10
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Why ? 77k a year (40 hr. week) health care and a good retirement.

I also happen to love going to work.
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Old 04-04-2007, 19:24   #11
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What other job is there that you get to laugh at the aftermath of "hey ya'll watch this"?
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Old 04-04-2007, 21:58   #12
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When I was little I saw pictures of people sick and bleeding on the news, and no one helping them. I knew that I had to do something, and couldn't be like everyone else and just watch. I was going to be a doctor but realized that I wasn't ready for the 7 years of college and debt. I wanted to help people now and have long weekends. I know I made the right choice, the pts continue to inspire me, and the education never ends. Plus I love the wonderful off sense of humor that keeps the job sane and I always had a soft spot in my heart for men in uniform.
Stupid people shouldn't breed.
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Old 04-04-2007, 23:00   #13
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For me it all started about 2 years ago when I moved to NJ. My girlfriend had just broken up with me, I had failed out of college a year earlier and i was feeling pretty down, so I packed up all my stuff and moved the 40 miles into New Jersey. I got a job working with the mentally disabled at a state institution and decided that I wanted to be an EMT. I found the address to the local emergency squad, mapquested directions to it and drove by it like 10 times a day for 3 weeks waiting for a car to be in the parking lot so I could talk to someone about joining. I finally found someone and joined up. Went to EMT class 3 months later and now I'm a paid EMT (doing transports now , but I'm applying to some 911 places now) Its had its ups and downs, but I love the feeling I get when a little girl who fell and hurt her knee looks up at me and says "thank you for making me all betterer" as we're on the way to the er. So I guess I do it for the warm fuzzy feeling, does that make me a warm, fuzzy feeling junkie?
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Old 04-18-2007, 10:49   #14
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I'll tell you why we do it - I spent 4 years in the Marine Corps and am beginning my FF journey/career, and if I have seen anything in the kind of people that are in this line of work - I have seen a desire to do it because it is the kind of work that attracts people like us. The ones who need to do something to make a difference but can't stand sitting behind a desk from 1st grade through college through the rest of life. Jobs like this kick a**, in just about every way.
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Old 04-19-2007, 14:00   #15
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I found myself at college, three years into a degree that I couldn't imagine having any use in real life, and wanting to make an actual difference in the world. I've got multiple generations of MDs and other medical types in my family (bowel resections were dinner table conversation when I was three feet tall), but had no desire to go into hospital work... the sheer volume of administrative BS and paperwork would have driven me nuts. Emergency medicine sounded like an interesting alternative.

I got into an EMT-B class at the local community college, and found I was suddenly among my kind of people... proactive type-A problem solvers with the kind of job that generates stories you want to tell.

I got a job with an ambulance company and found that, for the first time, my employer treated me like a competent adult, rather than a child or a trained monkey. There's guidelines, there's protocols, there's scope of practice... and if you can justify your actions within that framework as being in the best interest of your patient, you're allowed to make important decisions on the spot, without checking in with the department manager, waiting a week to discuss it at a meeting, or having to send out an email to all the other trained monkeys to see if they'll fling poo at it.

I hate office work, and academia wasn't for me. Give me a good partner, a reliable rig, a smart dispatcher and some loud music any day of the week.
G23 in a Kramer IWB #2 horsehide, DSA SA58 carbine ("The FrankenFAL").
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Old 04-19-2007, 19:11   #16
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Because I can't think of any other job where I can make 30K that allows me the freedom that this job allows me. plus being able to Earm Money Sleeping is cool to!
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Old 04-19-2007, 19:41   #17
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I only have to go to work five times each month. I used to like the rush but that has kind of went away some time in the last twenty years.

Now I just to close to pension time to find a more exciting job.
Keep your guns stashed and your powder dry.
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Old 04-19-2007, 23:29   #18
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Last edited by Joey; 05-10-2007 at 07:50..
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Old 04-21-2007, 15:56   #19
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In addition to the common, noble intentions, I just love knowing what's in the paper without needing to open it.
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Old 05-09-2007, 23:29   #20
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I do it because I'm a selfish SOB. I love the rush and the feeling I get when we roll fire/EMS/hazmat/rescue and help make someones problems better. It's addictive as hell.
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:02   #21
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My dad taught me from an early age that everyone should do something for other people. That comes in a lot of different forms, this happens to be mine.

To say I don't enjoy the rush would be a lie, but it's a benefit to me, not a reason.
My "give a doodie" button is broken, please come back tomorrow.
Squirrels are evil.

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Old 05-15-2007, 16:33   #22
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My wife got me into it, she has been an EMT for 27 years. We live in a small southern Colorado town, its all volunteer. We have 7 people on our EMS crew. My wife says " you have to give back". She,s right. It feels good to get them to the ER alive.
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Old 05-17-2007, 14:26   #23
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On a ride along once and responded to kitchen fire. Small fire, with no one home. When we finally saw flames they busted down the door to go in. When one of the guys came out with a drawer full of melted utensils and tossed it on the ground he turns to me and says with a wink and tongue in cheek, "What other job do you get to destroy people's things and they thank you for it later." Sure enough the woman thanked each and everyone of us (including me just riding along) with hugs and raspberry tea.

Not a fireman yet but still working to become one. CPAT in 3 weeks.
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Old 06-02-2007, 20:51   #24
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I'm a Trauma Nurse and an EMT-P. I've been at this for many years and I have had this way of thinking. I see alot of folks get into this line of work and I consistantly see folks that get into it with "Me" in mind... The excitement the recognition from folks that only see one side of the profession..

Seems like the ones that stay in the "Me" Mode dont last too long..

When a Medic or Nurse has put in over 5 years the milk rings on thier mouths dry up and they become "Weaned" and the focus goes to where it has belonged all the time...

And that Focus is on the Patients and the families that we work hard to make a diffrence in thier lives with the care we give them.

I could not ever see myself doing anything else...

WIth alot of professions what you do is merely your job. But with EMS and Norsing that is who you are.

Sorry about the rambling.
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Old 06-11-2007, 21:34   #25
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I've been an EMT-I for 12 years. Why do I do it? It started in 1993 when I was in a real bad M/C crash. Flight for Life came in and away I went. Enroute to trauma, I had the most awesome flight nurse attending to me. She did everything right and nothing wrong. She made me feel that I was the only person on earth that she cared about. She calmed me down, made me feel comfortable all the way in.

After I got out of the hospital, I decided to check in to the EMS field. I attended an EMT-B class and I was hooked from that point on. After that, EMT-I was my next step. Why do I do it? I do it so I can make people feel the way she made me feel. When I help someone, save a life, provide a shoulder or an ear, I've done my job.

Some years later, her and her whole crew lost their lives in the chopper near the CA/NV line. I will never forget her and before she died, I was able to track her down, tell her that she made an impact on my life and changed my career path.

So that's why I do it.
"Beware the fury of a patient man"
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