Newspaper Archive of
The Sundance Times
Sundance, Wyoming
November 11, 1999     The Sundance Times
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November 11, 1999

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i!~ i i:i!! ilii~ i ii! Page 4 - Thursday. November 1L 1999 I wish you could see the sadness of a business man as his livelihood goes up in flames, or that family returning home, only to find their house and belongings damaged or lost for good. I wish you could know what it is to search a burning bedroom for trapped children, flames rolling above your head, your palms and knees burning as you crawl, the floor sagging under your weight as the kitchen below you bums. I wish you could comprehend a wife's horror at 3:00 a.m. as I check her husband of 40 years for a pulse and find none. I start CPR anyway, hoping to bring him back, knowing intuitively it is too late. But wanting his wife and family to knoxg everything possible was done to try to save his life. I wish you know the unique smell of burning insulaUon, 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 I've become too familiar with. I wish you could understand how it feels to go to work in the morning after having spent most of the night, hot and soaking wet at a multiple alarm fire. I wlsh you could read my mind as I respond to a building fire; "Is this a false alarm or a working flre? How is the building con- structed? What hazards await me? Is anyone trapped?"; or to an EMS call, %Vhat is wrong with the patent? Is it minor or life- threatening? Is the failer really in distress or is he waiting for us with a 2x4 or a gun?" I wish you could be in the emergency room as a doctor pro- nounces dead the beautiful five-year-old girl that I 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. I wish you could know the frustration I felt in the cab of the engine or my personal vehicle, the driver with his foot pressing down hard on the pedal, my arm tugging again and again at the air horn chain, as you fail to yield the right-of-way at an inter- section or in traffic. When you need us however, your first com- ment upon our arrival will be. "It took you forever to get herer' I wish you could know my thoughts as I help extricate a girl of teenage years from the remains of her automobile. "What if this was my sister, my girlfriend or a friend? What is her parents' reaction going to be when they open the door to find a police officer with his hat in hand?" I wish you could know how it feels to walk in the back door and greet my parents and family, not having the heart to tell them that I nearly did not come back from the last call. I wish you could feel the hurt as people verbally, and some- times physically, abuse us or belltfle what I do, or as they ex- press their atUtudes of, "It will never happen to me." I wish you could realize the physical, emoUonal and mental drain or missed meals, lost sleep and forgone social acUvites, in addition to all the tragedy my eyes have seen. I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of helping save a llfe or preserving someone's property, or being able to be there in Ume of crisis, or creating order from total chaos. I 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 tears from you own and not knowing what to say: or to have to hold back a long time friend who watches his buddy having rescue breathing done on him as they take him away in the ambulance. You know all along he did hot have his seat belt on. A sensaUon that I have become too familiar with. Unless you have lived with this klnd of life, you will never truly understand or appreciate who I am , we are, or what our Job really means to us...l wish you could though. Support your local Firefighters and EMS Workers One day they may be saving your property or your life. ) "> i~;i