Station Pride Articles

Pride, Where does it come from?

Pride, Where does it come from?

Great question, right? The proud and long tradition of the fire service and its perpetual state of public trust is a good place to start. In recorded history firefighters have always been at the beck and call of the public since the ancient Romans.

Our profession is one of service and sacrifice. We are at the burning end of a very long drag of firefighters who came before us. Firefighters who, like us, raced through their own streets, flung buckets of water, rode horses, pumped steam engines and rescued the citizens in their community from peril. They wore the same uniforms, spoke the same language, took care of their equipment and grew sweet mustaches.

The firefighters before us had horrible safety equipment and the odds were insanely stacked against them. With no respiratory protection and heavy leather helmets, they paved a road filled with tears, sweat, blood and spirits. They earned the public’s trust with black noses, singed hair, dirty hands and gravestones. I am humbled when I think of just how badass those guys must’ve been and yet because of their sense of selflessness, WE, today’s fire service, continue to bask in their glory. With the pull of a hook, the tap of a wire or the ring of a phone we have always been there. That’s where public trust came from and that’s where pride begins.

Pride is that internal feeling that guides our actions. It’s a force that pushes us to polish the bumper, spray, shine our tires and ensure the readiness of our equipment. It’s why we train together, live together and eat together. Those who share the collective pride will forge a common trust with one another. That trust pushes men and women to continue the proud tradition of the fire service; it’s the pride that drives us. Firefighting has always taken a level of commitment, loyalty, honor and a sense of family that isn’t common these days. But for those that have made the commitment, they hold a legacy of those who paved the road ahead, just enough, for us to take the reins and replace it with Allison transmissions, Jake brakes and seatbelts. We may be safer, more educated and better equipped but the job remains the same. Pride is the only mechanism that has held us up for hundreds of years; it’s our fuel and our guide.

As I stand on the highway surrounded by twisted steal; I’m clean-shaven, wearing my Kevlar/PBI blend turnouts, plastic helmet, bright florescent green safety vest and eye protection, I feel completely removed from the dirty and difficult glory days. As far apart as these two worlds appear, we are still at the public’s call and just like the firefighters that came before us, we will be there, fueled by a common pride to serve the public in need and to honor the sacrifices of those firefighters before us.

In 1959, Kurt Vonnegut coined the eloquent, “I can think of no more stirring symbol of man’s humanity toward man than a fire engine.” And I can’t think of anything more correct.

About Jon Marr (29 Articles)
Jon Marr is a 19-year fire service veteran originally from the Rhode Island area. Jon has worked as a Station Captain and Battalion Chief with the U.S. Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll in support of the Space and Missile Defense Command. Prior to Kwajalein, Jon spent 8 years as a Fire Captain for the Area Support Group Kuwait Fire & Emergency Services Department supporting the U.S. Army Central Command throughout Kuwait. He was also a Fire Lieutenant at Forward Operating Base Falcon in Southern Baghdad, as well as 3 years working for AMR Seattle. Jon is a certified Fire Officer IV, Fire Instructor II, Fire Inspector II, Haz-Mat Tech/IC, holds a Bachelors degree in Fire Administration from Waldorf College and has been an EMT for 17 years. He is currently a Graduate Student at Central Connecticut State University studying Marriage & Family Therapy. Jon enjoys scuba diving, adventure travel, and watching his 7-year-old son see the world in wonder. Jon is a firm believer in maintaining a healthy balance of pride, tradition, and safety within the fire service.

2 Comments on Pride, Where does it come from?

  1. Reblogged this on zuzusays and commented:
    The pride comes from doing a job well, doing your absolute best even when no one is watching. Most firefighters I think feel that way because they do feel the tie to the past and want to continue the tradition for the future. They care so much about the meaning of the job that they want to give their all to it and they want to guarantee that everything related to the fire service is seen by others as perfection.

    I hope that the future of firefighting is a goal of putting themselves out of service by dedicating themselves to teaching the public how to prevent fires, how to safely respond to fires and how to build places that don’t burn.

    Sometimes having pride means to be willing to sacrifice your service for others, and that would be the ultimate sacrifice.

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  2. Pride means doing your best even when no one is watching, because you believe in what you are serving stands for, and you respect yourself. The people who came before you in the fire service worked with what they had, and built upon their experience and failures to constantly improve equipment, procedures, standards in order to ensure the safety of firefighters and civilians. Firefighters now continue the ongoing line of service and others will look back and hopefully write about their pride in service too. Unless…

    Sacrifice is one of the claims of the fire service. I hope that one day they will care enough about those they serve to put their focus on prevention and safety. If they dedicated as much effort and money to fire prevention education as they did to suppression maybe they could put themselves out of business. When public and business customers are immersed in ways to prevent fires; are taught to properly respond to fires and burns in all situations; are made knowledgable about available equipment to protect their homes and buildings from fire and its damage; that’s when the fire service could be proud in knowing it has made a most an amazing sacrifice.

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