I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine. (Kurt Vonnegut)
Also see Song Titles Related to Fire
I used a black refill page. I cut 'flames' out of red, orange and yellow paper and journaled on them with a black pen. I felt the gold and silver pens were too formal for this type page. (Mary in SC)
F is the fighting Fire Truck
That's painted a flaming red.
When the signals blast
It follows fast
When the chief flies on ahead.
And buses pull to the curbing
At the siren's furious cry,
For early or late
They have to wait
When the Fire Truck flashes by.
(edited by Denny for an ABC Album)
F is the Fire Truck
Painted bright red.
When the signals blast
It follows fast
As the chief flies on ahead.
Buses pull to the curb
At the siren's furious cry,
For early or late
They have to wait
When the Fire Truck races by.
(compiled by Donna in MB)
A - Above and Beyond, Accident, Adrenaline, Alarm, Apparatus, Arson, Assignment, Ax/axe, always ready, ashes, all fired up!, airpack, ambulance, accountability, Action, Able, aerial, Approach, Arrival, Accelerators, Attack lines
B - Badges, Basic Training, Bell, Boots, Battalion, Brass, Brush Fire, Burn, beepers, brave, black, back draft, blowup, buildings, boys will be boys, bunker gear, Brush Truck
C - Call, Captain, Carry, Chief, Command, Company, Control, Controlled Burn, CPR, Crew, courageous, curious, crazy, chain saw, chemicals, communication, critique, Compassionate, Caring, Community Minded, caution, CBA - Controlled Breathing Apparatus, Cuplin, Cutters, Confined, Combustion, Carries (rescue), Clapper valve, Char, Command post
D - Dalmatian, Danger, Debris, Department, Detector, Dispatch, District, Drill, Driver, Duty, dependable, degrees, dirty, devoted, Determined, Daring, decon dumptank, Drafting, Donut roll, Defensive Driving
E - Electrical, Emergency, Embers, Engine, Equipment, Extinguisher, Extrication, EMT, explosive, enthusiastic, energetic, enjoyable, education, educating children, escape, exit, exterior, energy, Entry
F - Fuel, Fire Fighter, Fire Ground, Fire Proof, First Aid, First In, First Responder, Flames, Flammable, Flow, Foam, fire, fire truck, firecracker, fire department, Family, friends, fellow firefighters, Flame Fighters, fireplug, Floodlight, Fog Streams, Flashover, Flashpoint, Fire Scene, Fear, fearless
G - Gas, Generator, Grime, goofy, giving, good looking, GO! GO! GO!, gear, Generous (with time and energy), Good Citizens, Great, GPM-Gallons per minute,
H - Hazards, Hazmat, Heart, Helmet, Helping Hand, Hero, Honor, Hose, H2O, handsome, hard worker, hydrant, hot, hanging around the station, helpful, hook and ladder, Hardworking, Heat, Halligan, Hard suction, Hoseclamp, Hydraulic pump, Halon, high rise, Heat, Hurst Tool(jaws of life), High Angle Rescue
I - Ignite, Incendiary, Incident, Inflammable, Injury, Insignia, Inspection, intelligent, inspiration to others, integrity, in the station, inside the battle, indestructible, interior, important, inspiration, Intake
J - Jaws of Life, jolly, just your average day, jump, joke, joker, Jump seat
K - Knowledge, kindness, keeping the trucks clean, key
L - Ladder, Leave, Lieutenant, Life Saving, Line, long hours, loud, love, life, love my job, life saver, look!, learn, Lights
M - Manpower, Motto, movable, muscles, medical, mop-up, mud, melting, my hero, my favorite firefighter, "macho", medic, Mini Pumper, Mask
N - Night Shift, no sleep, noble, no time for rest, no nonsense, nimble, nozzle, nutty, neighborhood
O - Officer, Oxygen, On Scene, orange, on call, on fire, officer in charge, operations, ordinary day, Overhaul
P - Platoon, Pole, Point of Origin, Prevention, Pride, Promotion, Pumper, plastic, popping, paramedic, people, pressure, pike, Pressure, Prying, Procedures, Prime, Performance, priority, Probie, Pager
Q - Qualifications, Quints, quiet, quality, quick
R - Radio, Rank, Rapid, Ready, Recruit, 'Red Stuff', Relief Crew, Reports, Rescue, Rookie, Roster, Rotation, reliable, red, reburn, risks his own life, response team, racing to the scene, responding to a call, Responsible, Rope, Regulator, Roof, Radiation, Relief valve, Rapel
S - Service, Siren, Shift, Smoke, Smoke Detector, Smother, Soot, Sprinkler, Staging, Stand Down, Station, Strength, Structure, Support, sincerity, sad, squad, scorch, scene, structure fire, slash, smoke jumper, spot fire, safety, saving lives, serving, swift, suspenders, Strong, Serious, scottpack, Salvage, Streams, Sprinkler, Smoldering, Search, Seagrave, Stress, Shower, Spray, Spark
T - Tank, Technical Rescue, Tools, Transfer, Training, Transport, tired, talented, turnout coat, tools, tanker, torch, temperature, training, team work, timing is everything, truck, Tireless, toys, Trauma, Tarps, Tactics, Triage, Traffic, Tailboard
U - Unit, Utmost, utility, uniform, under fire, under pressure, Unselfish, unbelievable, unforgettable, unity, united, urgent, unusual, ultimate, Unit 711 (Salvation Army respite vehicle)
V - Valve, Valor, Ventilation, Veteran, Volunteer, values, victorious, very brave, valiant, victim, vehicle, victory
W - Water Rescue, 'Wet Stuff', Wonderful, water, weather, wind, wild land, waiting, washing the truck, window, winner, work, Wheelchocks, Watermains, Warning, Woman (you go girl!)
X - x-tra special, x-tra careful, eXplosive, eXample, eXcellent, eXceptional, eXciting, eXpert, eXtraordinary, eXtra special, eXuberant
Y - Yes, yellow, yelling, you're our hero, yield (right of way)
Z - Zone, Zoom, zap, zzzzz's, zest, zany, zealous
(compiled by Donna in MB)
When I am called to duty, God,
Whenever flames may rage
Give me strength to save a life
Whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child
Before it is too late
Or save an older person from
The horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert
And hear the weakest shout
And quickly and efficiently
Put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling
To give the best in me
To guard my friend and neighbor
And protect his property.
And if according to Your will
While on duty I must answer death's call
Bless with Your protecting hand
My family one and all.
alternate last verse:
And, if, according to your will,
I have to lose my life,
Please bless, with your protecting hand,
My family and my wife.
He's the guy next door--a man's man with the memory of a little boy.
He has never gotten over the excitement of engines and sirens and danger.
He's a guy like you and me with warts and worries and unfulfilled dreams.
Yet he stands taller than most of us.
He's a fireman.
He puts it all on the line when the bell rings.
A fireman is at once the most fortunate and the least fortunate of men.
He's a man who saves lives because he has seen too much death.
He's a gentle man because he has seen the awesome power of violence out of
He's responsive to a child's laughter because his arms have held too many
small bodies that will never laugh again.
He's a man who appreciates the simple pleasures of life--hot coffee held in
numb, unbending fingers--a warm bed for bone and muscle compelled beyond
feeling--the camaraderie of brave men--the divine peace and selfless
service of a job well done in the name of all men.
He doesn't wear buttons or wave flags or shout obscenities.
When he marches, it is to honor a fallen comrade.
He doesn't preach the brotherhood of man.
He lives it.
(another version of the poem above)
A person who could be your next door neighbor. A person like you and
me, with wants and worries and unfulfilled dreams . . . yet stands taller
than most of us. That's a firefighter.
A person with the sharp memory of a little child who never got over the
wondrous excitement of engines and sirens and danger. That's a
A person who savors life because they've seen too much of death. A
person responsive to a child's laughter because their arms have held
too many little ones who will never laugh again. That's a firefighter.
A person who appreciated the simple pleasures of life, hot coffee held
in numbed unbending fingers, the flush of fresh air pumping through
smoke-covered lungs, a warm bed for bone and muscle compelled
beyond feelings, plus a special camaraderie with other brave
firefighters. That's a firefighter.
A person who knows the divine peace of selfless service, and a job well
done in the name of all men. They don't all wear buttons or wave flags
or shout obscenities . . . and when they march, it is to honor a fallen
comrade. A person who doesn't preach the brotherhood of mankind . . .
they live it. That's a firefighter.
I wish you could know what it is like 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 burns.
I wish you could comprehend a wife's horror at 3:00 in the morning as I check her husband of forty 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 know everything possible was done to try to save his life.
I wish you knew the unique smell of burning insulation, the taste of soot-filled mucus, the feeling of intense heat through your turnout gear, 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.
I wish you could read my mind as I respond to a building fire, "Is this a false alarm, or a working fire?" "How is the building constructed?" "What hazards await me?" "Is anyone trapped?"
Or to an EMS call, "What is wrong with the patient?" "Is it minor or life-threatening?" "Is the caller 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 pronounces 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 feel in the cab of the engine, squad car, 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 intersection, or in traffic. When you need us however, your first comment upon our arrival will be, "It took you forever to get here!"
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 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 know how it feels dispatching officers, firemen, and EMT's out, and when we call for them and our heart drops because no one answers back, or to hear a bone chilling 911 call of a child, or wife needing assistance.
I wish you could feel the hurt as people verbally, and sometimes physically abuse us, or belittle what we do or as they express their attitudes of "It will never happen to me."
I wish you could realize the physical, emotional and mental drain of missed meals, lost sleep, and forgone social activities, in addition to all the tragedy my eyes have seen.
I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of having saved a life, or preserving someone's property, or being able to be there in time 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 asking, "Is Mommy okay?" not even being able to look in his eyes without tears from your 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 not have his seat belt on, a sensation that I have become too familiar with.
Unless you have lived with this kind of life, you will never truly understand, or appreciate who I am, who we are, or what our job really means to us . . .
I wish you could though.
(Michael Marks, used with permission)
This poem was written in loving appreciation of the heroic men and women of the fire and emergency response services who every day rush into our worst disasters to save lives and prevent suffering. It is the author's hope that these few words serve to remind everyone of the great costs, not only physical but emotional as well, paid by these dedicated souls. Day in and day out they face scenes that would leave most people sick in order to save the lives of our moms and dads, our sons and daughters. Take a moment and think about how you can show your support to the heroes at your local fire/EMS service. From a word of thanks or a tin of cookies to support of donation drives, we should all find a way to give something back to those who so dearly deserve it.)
The old man smiled and nodded as I walked along the street,
and I could not help but notice that his task appeared complete.
The fire engine sparkled, every inch of metal gleamed;
A picture of perfection, or at least that's how it seemed.
But still he fussed about a speck too small for me to see,
a tiny smudge upon the golden number '33'
emblazoned on the engine's side in iridescent hue
and so I ambled closer just to get a better view.
"It must be great," I mused aloud, "to have a job like this
Away from all the stress of corporate life, it must be bliss.
Some days when I go home from work I just can't clear my mind
Its tough to leave important stress of work too far behind."
"But this, now here's a job that I could really get to love,
To be outside and far away from all that push and shove.
I'd love a chance to drive around in such a fancy truck,
And douse a fire now and then . . . some guys have all the luck."
The old man turned and gave a stare that made my knees go weak;
I tried to mumble something but I found I couldn't speak.
Like quiet thunder from afar his voice did reach my ear,
and in his words I felt an icy touch that gave me fear.
"You want to have a memory of standing on the line?"
He took my hand and with a squeeze said "here, try some of mine"
And in a blur of sight and sound, a storm of smoke and soot,
I walked into his memory and stepped into his boots.
I felt the fire-weakened floor that groaned beneath my feet,
and saw my helmet blister from the fire's searing heat.
I couldn't see the walls for all the clouds of blinding smoke,
and even with my breathing gear I thought I'd surely choke.
Then suddenly the world was naught but crashing brick and stone,
The sound of snapping timbers or the sound of breaking bones.
And like the Gates of Hell itself had burst and opened wide,
A firestorm exploded then, and that's when people died.
I saw a firefighter who was scarcely past his teens
storm through a wall of fire in response to distant screams.
But on his heels I saw the Beast contort and swell and burn,
And in its fury there I knew he never would return.
Once more the world became a blur and then I was outside,
Just cradling a baby girl who in my arms had died.
With sooty hands I brushed a tiny curl from off her face
and wondered was there any way I could have won the race.
I clutched her tiny body as the sobs tore through my chest.
And fell upon my knees to ask the Lord to give me rest.
I prayed to God that I could wake from such a frightful dream
While somewhere in the distance I could hear her mother scream.
The blur again and I was home with tears upon my cheek,
The old man's voice admonishing "Be careful what you seek"
And with a graven tone he put the question out to me,
"Still feel like telling me about how tough your job can be?"
And in a flash I realized the wrong that was in me,
In choosing to ignore the things I didn't want to see.
For while I turned away from all the horror and the pain,
There were a few who had the guts to face it time again.
He gazed at me and softly said, "Don't think that I regret
a moment of my life or that I'd ever once forget;
For every battle that was lost a hundred more were won,
And every scar I carry represents the job I've done."
"I've carried kids and moms and cats to safety from the smoke,
I've felt a heart return to life and saved a man who choked.
I've seen a daughter's tears when told her daddy will survive,
and watched the gleam of hope that comes the moment we arrive."
"I count myself a lucky man to stand with those who care
enough to bear the memories and those of us who dare
to look the fire in the eye and fight it tooth and nail,
and know our life is on the line the moment that we fail."
And in his words I found a truth that I had never known,
I thanked him for the chance to see the things that I'd been shown;
the chance to know how much I owe before my moment dire,
to understand their sacrifice before I faced the fire.
It was an honor then I knew to shake the old man's hand,
And men and women like him standing watch across the land.
I knew that I would not forget the things he let me see,
The images will long remain . . . burned in my memory.
The phone rang in the fire department dispatcher's office, and the caller immediately began talking.
"I'm 78 and a widow," she said, "and I have such a bad back that it is very hard for me to work in my garden. I . . ."
"Where's the fire?" the dispatcher interrupted.
". . . have put in a very nice garden, in spite of that, with lovely zinnias all around the border, and it's growing quite nicely which is a good thing, the way grocery prices are these days . . ."
"Hey!" yelled the dispatcher. "Is your house on fire?"
"No, it isn't," replied the woman, "but the house next door is, and if anyone calls you about it, I don't want your people stomping around and dragging hoses through my nice garden. Do you understand?"
They reason firehouses often have circular staircases is from the old days when fire engines were pulled by horses. They horses were kept on the ground floor to be ready quickly when an alarm came in. Horses can climb up straight stairs so they made circular ones to keep the horses where they belong.