www.firefightingincanada.com

Headlines News
Dispatches


October 21, 2011
By Jennifer Grigg

jennifer-mabeeBlogger Jennifer Mabee is a volunteer firefighter with a passion for writing. She will blog regularly about her experiences with the Township of Georgian Bay Fire Department in Ontario. You can comment by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Nov. 1, 2011 – I was in the fire hall the other day having a coffee with my chief and discussing what to expect over the next few months having just returned to the fire department. A gentleman came into the meeting room, apologized for interrupting and said he was looking for the fire chief.

Blogger Jennifer Mabee is a volunteer firefighter with a passion for
writing. She will blog regularly about her experiences with the Township
of Georgian Bay Fire Department in Ontario. You can
comment by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Nov. 1, 2011 – I was in the fire hall the other day having a coffee with my chief and discussing what to expect over the next few months, having just returned to the fire department. A gentleman came into the meeting room, apologized for interrupting and said he was looking for the fire chief.

The chief stood up and introduced himself, and the gentleman went on to say that the firefighters in Station 1 had saved his life in September, and he wanted to thank them.

As he continued to talk about his experience, which involved the firefighters carrying him down a steep, rocky hill at his cottage, he was apologetic about what the firefighters had to go through to get him down to the boat, and then back to the mainland.

I was immediately struck by his genuineness and sincerity, and the fact that he was concerned about what the firefighters had to endure, not to mention the fact that it was rare to have the opportunity to hear the patient’s side of the story, and how the members of the fire department had impacted his life.

"Wow," I thought. I wish the guys who were on that call could hear this. The gentleman wanted to make a donation to the department, or somehow show the firefighters his appreciation. The chief told him that it was unnecessary and that the firefighters were just doing their jobs. But the gentleman replied, “They might do this all the time, but I don’t have my life saved all the time!” Good point. He clearly felt indebted to the volunteers who responded to the call and quite likely saved his life.

It was such a powerful moment for me to hear this gentleman I’d never met talk so candidly about his experience. It also made me realize that just by doing what we’re doing (whether it’s as a volunteer or full-time firefighter, police officer, paramedic or any other person in a position to help another) we are touching people’s lives in a unique and almost indescribable way.

We can’t really know what people think or feel after our lives have intersected. We always hope we’ve been a positive aspect in a not-so-positive situation – after all, the pager doesn’t go off when things are going right, it goes off when something’s gone wrong.

This gentleman made me realize that when things have gone wrong in people’s lives, we are among the privileged few who will be there to help them, and in that moment, create a ripple effect that can reach much farther than we may ever know.

– – –

Jennifer Mabee is a volunteer with the Township of Georgian Bay Fire Department in Ontario. She began her fire fighting career with the Township of Georgian Bay in 1997 and became the department’s fire prevention officer in 2000 and a captain in 2003. She was a fire inspector with the City of Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services before taking time off to focus on family, and is excited to be back at it. E-mail her at jhook0312@yahoo.ca

– – –