| 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
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 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, 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 home in the morning after having spent most of the night, hot and soaking wet at a multiple make up fire.
I wish you could read my mind as I respond to a building fire
How is the building constructed?
What hazards await me?
Is anyone trapped?"
"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 knife or a gun?"
I wish you could be in the Emergency dept 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 Mummy" again.
I wish you could know the frustration I feel in the cab of the engine, the driver with his foot pressing down hard on the pedal, your foot pressing again and again at the air horn button, as a driver fails 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 were 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 verbally, 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 realise 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 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 and asking, "Is Mummy 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 CPR 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, we
are, or what our job really means to us...
One day they'll probably be saving your property or your life.
When You see the coming with lights flashing, move out of the way quickly.
Then pray for them and the need
that they are racing too
Thanks are given to the
BROUGHTON FIREFIGHTERS MANCHESTER U.K
for the use of this poem