This past weekend, we took the kids on a little road trip. For the most part, the kiddos handled it just fine. We just popped a DVD in one of those travel TV things, and we were good to go. Man, how I wish we had one of those back in the day. Sure would have made all those long summer vacation drives a heck of a lot nicer.
So, with the kids all settled in, shoes kicked off, snacks in hand, and DVD playing, we hit the road, Jack. But, about an hour into it, I started getting antsy, and the Officer started fidgeting in his seat, which wasn’t great, considering he was driving, and you never want to have a fidgety driver.
To pass the time, I decided to interview him, gain some insight, and see what kind of words to the wise lurked up there behind all the sports stats and random American History facts.
When I first alerted him of my plan, he turned the tables on me, and played a very weird game of 20 Questions, all centered on the types of questions I would be asking him. He didn’t just want me to start asking, he wanted to guess what I would be asking first. Whatevs – it killed another twenty-five minutes or so.
Once that was done, and I popped in a new DVD – those Disney movies are never very long – I finally got to fire my questions at him. Here you go:
So, how was your day yesterday? What kind of calls did you have?
We had about 6 or 7 EMS calls. 4 fire alarm system calls. That’s when a security type system, like ADT, goes off and the alarm is automatically forwarded to the fire department. Those are usually false alarms, but you never know. And 3 traditional fire calls. That’s when someone dialed 911 looking for a fire response.
How many of those calls came in over night?
3 or 4 of them.
Would you call that a good day, or a bad day?
It was a pretty average day. No unusual calls or anything.
I know you really love your job, but what are the three things you like most about it?
Being put directly in situations where you can help people. You can always say “I want to help”, but its different when you’re put right in the middle of it. I suppose I like the surprises, too. It’s always different. And, I really like the camaraderie between my coworkers and colleagues.
What do you dislike about it?
The surprises. I know I said I like them, but I dislike them too. They can put you in a bad situation. I also dislike the liability and litigation that has surfaced over the last 15 years, or so.
Anything else you dislike?
Some of the future aspects of the operations. It seems that the future is heading in a completely defensive path. There’s a possibility that walking into a burning building may be restricted. Not in my career, but maybe in my lifetime, it could happen. And that’s wrong.
Out of curiosity, is there still a rivalry between the cops and the firefighters?
You come from a family of cops. Did they give you a hard time when you joined the Fire Department?
I don’t really recall anything excessive.
There was some teasing, sure. But, they didn’t make it difficult in any way. (For the record – I just want to add that the Officer’s police relations have been nothing but supportive and proud of the Officer’s career. They’re all about the brotherly love.)
Would you want your children to follow in your footsteps?
No. I think this is for me, not for them. I don’t regret it, but I want something more and better for my kids. Without taking anything away from the career, I just don’t think it’s for them.
Any words of advice for the incoming candidates from a seasoned Officer?
You really are measured by your own actions, even though a lot of people don’t think that. And despite any minority groups, or females, or any other groups, thinking they’re prejudiced against, in the end, the only thing people care about is if you do your job. Period. We really don’t care about anything else. And it’s not even just doing your job, it’s more the effort of doing it. Sometimes you won’t be able to complete a job assigned to you, but it’s the effort that will be respected. Let’s say there are 4 people trapped in a burning building. It’s ALWAYS your job to get them out. And, unfortunately, there may be some times when you can’t. But, it’s the effort, the doing everything you possibly can to try, that will earn you the respect on the job.
You only fail if you don’t try to the best of your ability.
One last question. If you could be anything else, what would it be? Anything else tickle your fancy?
I really don’t know. I’ll think of something, though.
Okay, keep your eyes on the road.