Wildcats Explain: Firefighting

By Jeff Hankins

Firefighting is the riskiest of all dead-end jobs.

It is more than putting water on a fire. It’s taking an everyday person and teaching them to be a doctor, a handyman, an electrician, a roofer, and a plumber, all in about six months.

It’s learning how to get your chops busted, how to cook and clean. It’s being in the jump seat of a screaming fire engine running down the street to pull drunk kids from twisted steel. It’s forging a bond between those five other guys in the station, a bond no one else will understand.

In any other profession you see streets signs named after you; yet in this one you make it to 20 years, or one day, your luck runs out. And there’s no third way to leave this job.

When you ask a firefighter if they love their job they will undoubtedly say yes. But if you ask them why they do their job, they say they don’t know.


Why break down your body for free or for a lower middle class income?

Because we have pride. Pride in the department we serve, pride in our equipment, pride in our community, and pride in ourselves.

And beneath all that rough, gruff, crap you’ll hear in the firehouse kitchen, we all want to give a little something back. That’s why we’re here. It’s more than a paycheck, it’s a lifestyle. It’s something that becomes a part of you, and something you will always be.