I wish you could see the sadness
Of a business man as his
livelihood goes up in flames
Or that family returning home,
Only too find their house and
Belongings damaged or lost for good.
I wish you could know what it is
Like too 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 burn.
I wish you could comprehend a wife's horror
At 3 in the morning 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 know everything possible
Was done too try too 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,
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 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 too 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 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 was her
parents reaction going to be when they
opened 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 feel the hurt as people
orally, and sometimes physically,
abuse us or belittle what I 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 or 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 helping save
a life or preserving someone's property, or
eing 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 and 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 that 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, we are,
or what our job really means to us...I wish you could though.
Last modified: December 05, 2003