I am often asked if I fear for my life doing what I do for a living. And although I do have a healthy respect for all things 'dangerous', firefighting is a calculated risk that I am more than willing to take. 5% of our calls are fire calls. The rest being accidents, carbon monoxide calls, water rescue, high angle, confined space, hazmat and anything else ol' Murphy and his Laws can think of.
The majority of our calls are medical ones and this is where there is great potential for catching anything from a simple cold virus to the flu to other life threatening blood borne or airborne disease. Remember SARS? A lot of us were under quarantine for 10 days ( but really, if you look at the statistics, more people died in Canada from the influenza virus than SARS). It is mandated that we practice universal precautions at each and every call but you really can't obsess or worry too much about it... you could catch them standing in line at the checkout counter... and really, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. The key I believe is keeping one's immune system strong and healthy in the first place.
Fire calls have the potential for really devastating injuries but our training, fire equipment, and protocol help to keep us safe. I think, especially with the way people drive these days yapping on their cellphones, the biggest risk for me going into work is the commute to and from. This is why I prefer driving my huge Ford pick-up and would never set foot in a mini-Cooper. But having said that, you could perish crossing the street or anywhere really if you happen to be in the wrong place at the right time. As I've said before, I am not a religious person but I do believe that when your number is up, it's up. So no use wasting time worrying about dying and living small trying to always play it safe... it's far more worthwhile and valuable to concentrate on doing what you love to do and living up to your fullest potential.
So in answer to the question: no, I don't fear what I do. It would be too paralytic. If I was afraid I would be doing something else. I sometimes get the jitters or the shakes after a freaky call but it makes my heart beat with a resonance that makes me feel alive. And the fact that I get to help others while pushing myself to face the brink of my own fears is what is helping me grow.........