For how tough the job of firefighting is, I was pleasantly surprised when I 'enlisted' how friendly and down to earth the guys were. There is the odd gym ape pumped full of testosterone who manages to annoy the heck out of everyone by always trying to be the hero or uses his badge to pick up chicks but really, from what I've seen in my fire department, every one is so cool and nice I wish I had them as next-door neighbours. Most of the guys are educated, well-read, have nice families. I think this job is conducive to that. Helping other people just lends itself to making you want to be a better person. I think it's the totally insecure guys that are the Schwarzenegger wannabees. And all their machismo quickly alienates them. There is no room on the truck for guys who are self-centred. In rookie training the saying 'there is no I in Team' was drilled in our heads daily and it's so true. It takes a team of firefighters to work a call safely and efficiently. And the people in dispatch are integral to how the call plays out. You get in tune with the dispatcher to the point that you can tell if it's a big call just by the tone of their voice. I am finding that the strongest crews are the ones that have a certain cohesiveness that is developed over time from working together. Often at calls few words are exchanged between crew members because each individual instinctively knows what role needs to be played. I personally find it a bit devastating when crews get switched around after being together for years or when your crewmate retires because it's like learning how to dance all over again.
Maybe my sentimentality is showing but there are some really good eggs out there on the trucks. You don't normally get to meet these kind of people everyday but I am lucky that I work with them. It makes going in to work so much easier leaving my children and husband behind when I'm on shift. It would suck to be stuck with people you despise and you certainly wouldn't be able to trust them to watch your back at a call.