Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Fireman's Life

Anderson County lost a volunteer firefighter as he responded to a call yesterday. He had served five decades as a volunteer, starting when he was a teenager. He also served 21 years as chief and two terms as county sheriff. This is a tribute to him and the men and women like him across our nation who give selflessly of their time and talent to protect and serve. Please read all the way to the end to get the full scope of firefighters' sacrifices.

A Fireman's Life
A fireman's life is one big surprise,
Usually he laughs, sometimes he cries.
There's always stress, toil and strife,
Hoping he's good enough to save just one life.

His wife (or mom) understands, when he misses dinner,
If he runs out of church, don't think he's a sinner.
Answering a call, is tops on his list,
Regretting each one he's ever missed.

He tries and tries, but can't make us see,
The happiest men, still work for free.
Jumping from bed, fighting the cold,
Knowing what to do, without being told.

He rushes to the station, jumps on a truck.
Depending on skill, never on luck.
Putting his life on the line, for an unknown friend,
Hoping and praying, it won't be the end.

"The Bravest Men in the World", the title is fitting,
They all do their best, never come close to quitting.
Next time you see them, all their lights blinking,
Take just a minute, to think what they're thinking.

It's a hard job, so show them you care,
And help them out, with a little prayer.
-- by Daniel S. Driscoll –

There were 1,148,850 firefighters in the United States in 2008. Of these, 321,700 (28%) were career and 827,150 (72%) were volunteer. Chances are good if you are in a fire or a car accident, the men and women of the fire department who respond have volunteered their time to do so. These emergency responders have made a conscious and weighted decision to serve, despite the fact they are not paid to do so.

Facts & figures
·         Most of the career firefighters (74%) are in communities that protect 25,000 or more people.
·         Most of the volunteer firefighters (94%) are in departments that protect fewer than 25,000 people, and more than half are located in small, rural departments protecting fewer than 2,500 people.
·         In 2008, a total of 104 firefighters were fatally injured while on duty. Of these, 42 were career, 54 were volunteer, and 8 were no-municipal (those not employed by local, public fire departments).
·         In 2008, 79,700 firefighters were injured in the line of duty. 36,595 of these injuries occurred on the fireground.
·         There were an estimated 14,950 collisions involving fire department emergency vehicles while responding to or returning from incidents. These collisions resulted in 670 firefighter injuries.
(Statistical Data compiled from: http://www.nfpa.org)

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