Thursday, September 17, 2009

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, dump truck 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.

*originally posted January, 2008.


Team Botanical said...

Your firefighter posts are my favorite. I can't help it.

Melissa said...

Beautifully written, as usual. I was one of those people, who really didn't notice the siren sounds, it was just NORMAL white noise to me.

That changed when Anthony was 9 and it was my birthday (He had an asthma attack). It started my run, if you will, of 911 calling at least once a year. I worry when I hear that sound, I worry about the firefighters we've met over the years, I pray for their spouses and children that they will make it though the call safely, and I think about how that 911 call can be the scarest call a person can make.

I am so honored to live in a community where our firefighters, paramedics, and police truly care about us.

Christy said...

I have friends and family members that are fire fighters, so I've witnessed this...still can't imagine living it. You did a beautiful job of putting it into words.