Off the top of my head, I can recall two firefighting stories that my grandfather shared before he passed away. Only two in my whole life… that’s it. I’ve also only seen two pictures of him with the fire department. I have his old helmet and I know he was chief. He also taught at Texas A&M municipal fire school for 52 consecutive years. His father, my great-grandfather, was a career firefighter.
I am 4th gen and hell yes I’m proud. I love my career choice and will tell anybody that. I am eager to teach a younger generation just as much as i am eager to learn. Being a firefighter is all I know, I never learned a trade outside of this “job”.
My father has been a paramedic since 1985 in ems since 1979. I grew up listening to him give radio reports to the hospital and even occasionally running calls with him. Still to this day we share experiences with each other. I talk about fires and some calls with positive outcomes with my son all the time, obviously leaving out the details he doesn’t need at 6 years old.
What I’m getting at is passing the stories along. Pass down the tradition and pride of the job to the sons, daughters and even the rookies at the station or in academies. The stuff that lights the fire is the stuff keeps that spark going. Don’t let the past die with you. The experiences that you have learned from can help educate a younger generation. The early water activation and pitch-black, hotter than hell room you were in when you banked the layer down on top of yourself. It may not keep Ricky Rescue from doing the same but it will let him know what happenes when he does it.
With all that pride comes responsibility. A responsibility to remain physically fit to do your job to the best of your ability. To continue to feed and grow your knowledge of the fire service, current building construction, SLICER-RS, RECEO-VS, hose streams, ladders, ventilation and everything else we do on a fire. The responsibility to let your actions at the fire station show the guys on other shifts or other stations how serious you and your guys are about this job. Your personal pride, shift pride, STATION PRIDE should all be blatantly obvious to any outsider looking in.
So pass those old war stories down, share the experiences with anybody that cares to listen. Build a picture book full of newspaper clippings, and photos to share with your children, and grand children. Let your good and bad experiences educate our younger generations. Think about your mentors, and how they taught you. You owe it to all the past firefighters to maintain the pride in the brotherhood.