Saturday, January 19, 2008

The View From My Frontline

The tell-tale sound of the fire engine roars down the otherwise quiet street below our neighborhood, on its way somewhere.

I don't think a thing about it.

A few minutes later, just when the first siren is fading, another blast from another engine. And another, followed by more sirens from what I've come to know by sound, are smaller command vehicles and police cars.

"There's something wrong," I think.

More sirens pass. It takes a long time for their sounds not to be heard so I know that they are going far.

A normal person probably wouldn't give these noises a second thought. A normal person would carry on with their day, corralling kids, folding laundry, preparing lunch.

But the wife of a firefighter doesn't do this.

Brett doesn't work for our local district, although he did for some time before he was hired as a full-time firefighter at the airport. But these men and women are still, as all who are involved with the fire service know, family to us.

I called him at work to see if he could find out what was wrong.

The "Oh" of his response was telling enough.

Head-on MVA, 3 or more vehicles involved, dumptruck on fire, and on it's side, one red (death), immediate response requested, caller states that this is "really, really bad."

For a split second, I am grateful that my husband is tucked into his airport firestation busy doing nothing more dangerous than waxing the bay floors. Although mayhem can come anytime.

Then he says the names of the firefighters responding to the call, all people we know. One of them, the son of a firefighter who used to work with Brett. I still think of him as a teenager and cannot imagine the storm he is about to witness on the highway.

Then it starts snowing, and I think, "Great, now they (the responders) have to put out the fire in the snow, and help the injured in the snow, and direct traffic in the snow, and see what nobody wants to see in the snow."

Being married to a firefighter is like this, it just is. I can't hear a siren without thinking about where it's going. I can't see an image of a firefighter without thinking of my husband. I can't help but worry every time he leaves for shift that something bad will happen.

All I can do is hope that he, and others, make it through whatever disaster they bear witness to without many scars, inside or out.

* To the individual who googled "hot sweaty firemen."


Oh, The Joys said...

The only word that comes to mind is -- haunting.


Mom Linda said...

Hi! I'm Kim's mom, and I volunteer with our local fire department--we get called in times of crisis to support the families and victims, coming to the scene with our specialized motor home, ready to tuck them out of the weather and out of the public eye. We also supply our uniformed personnel with snacks & fluids.
After doing this for several years, I always go with prayer. Many times, I go home with a heavy heart. I used to follow sirens for curiosity--now I pray when I hear a siren.

creative-type dad said...

A tough job. Everything is always a big unknown.

flutter said...

This just makes me honor what your brave man does, even more.

Valley Girl said...

Your hubby's a firefighter??? That's HOT.

Family Adventure said...

Wow. Thank you!


Mr Lady said...

Carrie, thank you so much for stopping by my blog!

I don't know HOW you do it. My man is a restaurant manager and I panic. You, my dear, rock.

PrincessPolly said...

i am totally in awe of firefighters - to stare death in the face every day in order to help people is such a brave thing to do.

Moobs said...

I was going to ask what it was like having a hero in the family until I saw Wyatt plays in goal - now that really is bravery.

LindaJ said...

Okay way to make me all teary first thing in the morning...being the BFF of a firefighter and his wife makes me do the exact thing....worry everytime I hear a siren.

Tamara said...

My heart goes out to you and other wives/families of our emergency workers. I say a prayer everytime I hear a siren. I'm so thankful for people like your husband.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I can't even imagine!

May God bless your husband and all the brave men and women like him that sacrifice so keep us safe!

painted maypole said...

thank you to your husband, and all the others...

a friend taught me whenever I hear sirens to say a prayer for those who are rushing to help, and those in need of the help. I do this every time i hear sirens now.

Cathy said...

Fantastic post. I cannot imagine.

(I'm not the one who Googled "hot sweaty fireman. Usually, I just stick with "hot.")

Bless you, your husband, and family.

Cathy said...

"Hot firemen" I mean. *blush*

Lisa said...

Years ago, as a reporter, I remember doing stories on various fires or accidents, talking with the firefighters. The winter and summer are definitely the most difficult -- most people don't realize how much tougher a firefighter's job gets as temps dip, or even in the summer when it gets super hot.

Like Linda, I pray when I hear a siren.

Ann(ie) said...

Thank GOD for your selfless hubby and all the other hot sweaty firemen. Truly a godsend my friend!

jen said...

it's amazing, the bravery. firefighters are always heroes.

we call them a lot to the shelters...usually for an ambulance but the firemen come too...and always, always, they are so kind to folks, to all of them, their strength always moves me.

Kellan said...

It must be hard sometimes - but, it also must bring you a great deal of pride - you have so much to be proud of - he and all of them are all of our heros! Thanks for sharing this part of your life with us - it has got to be so difficult! Take care - Kellan

Carrie said...

I worked on the local ambulance crew as an EMT during college, and I have never stopped wondering/worrying when I hear an ambulance siren.

Thanks to your husband for what he does and you for supporting him while he does it. We appreciate you both.