Friday, February 27, 2009

People of the day: Firefighters

Today we are going to go over a very special group of people - the hard working risk taking firefighters who put their lives on the line every day to make sure others are safe. These brave men and women simply don't get the respect and honor that they deserve. If it weren't for firefighters, countless millions would be burned alive in their own homes. And firefighters play a much wider role than just putting out fires - they also arrive on the scene of bad wrecks and help the motorists get out of their cars, they make visits to schools and teach children about fire safety, and they get down cats from trees.

So where did it all begin? Firefighting goes all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Of course even before then fires existed which needed to be put out, but it took a while for people to be designated as professional fire fighters. Before Ancient Egypt, people were left to their own devices, and often did the wrong things to try to put fires out which actually made it worse. Deadly burns were very common back then, as it wasn't unusual for someone to try to put out a grease fire with water. What really kickstarted the firefighter movement was Augustus of Rome. Even though firefighters were around, they were working for private companies. If someone's house was burning down, the fire fighters would only come help if the owner was a paying customer. It was more like a business back then. Augustus called this absurd, as this meant the poor would never have any help putting out fires because they didn't have the money to pay private fire fighting companies. He then created a state funded firefighting squad that covered everyone. These firefighters, which were called Vigiles at the time, were trained, paid, and equipped by the state.

A lot of things have changed since those days, but one thing remains: the people who hold these jobs take the firefighter's oath to put out fire to the best of their ability, and they put their lives on the line every day for a cause much bigger than themselves.

Firefighters Oath:

I promise concern for others. A willingness to help all those in need.

I promise courage - courage to face and conquer my fears. Courage to share and endure the ordeal of those who need me.

I promise strength - strength of heart to bear whatever burdens might be placed upon me. Strength of body to deliver to safety all those placed within my care.

I promise the wisdom to lead, the compassion to comfort, and the love to serve unselfishly whenever I am called.

How often do you worry about getting killed in a fire and losing all your belongings? Probably not often. That's because with firefighters around, we feel safe, comfortable, and confident knowing that if disaster ever struck, there would be people much braver than ourselves to take care of it. And what's not to like about that?

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