Independence Day-The Firefighter's Ultimate Mutual Aid
As we embark on this Independence Day weekend it is important to honor what this special holiday is all about. We all have a great time cleaning and detailing our apparatus for the neighborhood parade. Nothing is better than grilling something over the BBQ, either at the firehouse our at a neighborhood picnic. I’m sure all of us will enjoy watching fireworks either as the on duty crew or with our friends and family at home. This is a day of celebration, it is a day to honor the UNITED States of America. 235 years ago a bunch of individual colonists decided that they were going to put their life on the the line for the pursuit of FREEDOM. They wanted true freedom. Freedom from the tyrannical rulers an ocean away that limited their speech, religion, and the ability to freely pursue happiness. These brave colonists were able to defeat one of the strongest and most powerful army of the time because they realized that individually as colonists we may not be strong but by standing together as a united states, nothing could stand in our way.
One of our firefighter brothers Benjamin Franklin said "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately" Those words could not be more true in the 1700’s as they are today. We are more than just firefighters, we are brothers. We must never forget that no one firefighter can do it all, it is a team effort. The nozzle-man can’t put the wet stuff on the red stuff with out the engineer pumping his water. The captain inside can't adequately monitor the full incident without the chief out front letting him know that conditions are changing. We search in teams to stay positionally oriented and to ensure accountability. Firefighting is the ultimate team activity, it is about looking out for your brothers both during operations and back at the firehouse.The concept of mutual aid goes deeper than just asking our neighboring department for assistance with the second alarm, mutual aid is about brothers helping brothers. Mutual aid is about visiting our retired firefighters, mutual aid is about giving a hand to our brothers in need.
With reduced budgets, politicians taking away our rights and sometimes even our jobs, it is important that we think of many different ways that we can help each other. From combined purchasing to joint training, there are so many things we can do as a group that could never be accomplished as individual firefighters or individual departments.
Over this Independence Day weekend, let’s look to the past and the lessons our founding fathers taught us when we stopped acting as individual colonies and united to change the world. We are all in this together no matter what station, city or unit day. We may have been an individual prior to joining the fire service but once you don the mask and put on that helmet you will be forever connected as brothers.