“What I Know, Assume, or Imagine”

February 2, 1999

Have you ever asked yourself “What career should I get into?” If so, and you ever
thought about fire fighting, this is the paper that could help you make a decision.
Here is why I’m researching this vocation. I don’t know about you but just the
thought of running out of a burning building with a five year old child holding a teddy
bear, flung over your shoulder, really catches my attention. I have heard and used the
word “hero” many times, but wouldn’t it be nice, for a change for it to be you? Having
someone be forever grateful and call you a hero, all in a day’s work. I have been in Fire
Explorers (a junior cadet kind of organization) for about seven or so months now and I
really enjoy it. I know a lot of other explorers that like it too. I also know a number of
firefighters that really like their job. I don’t know exactly what it is, it just interests me.
All through kindergarten and first grade, every time a teacher would ask “what do
you what to be when you grow up?” I would say “a firefighter.”
I am researching this because of the many different remarks I have heard when I
mentioned the fire department being one of my career objectives. Although more than
seventy percent of people thought it would be a great idea, the last thirty percent said
otherwise. For example, some would say “take the look at the risk you have, your playing
with fire” or “that’s one of the most dangerous jobs you could ever get into.” I am hoping
to prove that last thirty percent wrong.
So far this is what I know. Firefighters start off at a low rank and have the
opportunity to move up. They get called for many different things such as medical aids,
all traffic collisions, any ringing fire alarm, structure and vegetation fires, they also
sometimes have to cover for other stations if the other station is occupied for a long

Period of time. Also, if one person needs to leave the station while on duty the whole
crew has to leave in the engine, because if they get a call they are all able to respond.
There are many places to go and many positions to get into. The better your
education is the greater the chance of you getting hired. I know most of the tools and
their location on the engine, although their location varies with each different engine. I
also know that the main personal preference of an automobile is a big old Chevy or Ford
truck. There are also job opportunities in fire investigation which can be looked at as a
retirement or pay increase.
In order to get the information I need I will use the Internet, encyclopedia, and
books on my computer. Also go to the library, hopefully I will get some good
Some things I want to find out about my topic are; How much do firefighters get
paid? How long are the shifts? How many people are at one station at a time? How long
does it take to get promoted to a higher rank?, but overall, I think my main question
would be, Should I get into the Fire Department?

“The Search”
Doing this search, at least for me, was pretty fun. Firefighting has always been
something I have wanted to get into. While doing my research I found a ton of interesting
things like, “How many heroes are there in America? At least 260,000. That’s the number
of firefighters employed by state and local governments.” (Baxter 79). I would have
never guessed that 260,000 firefighters were employed in the U.S. and the term “Hero”
used to describe each and every one of them. I am starting to really want to get into this. I
also found that “Fire Protection refers to the work of fire departments: putting out fires,
conducting inspections, running fire safety programs, and-in many cases- providing
emergency medical assistance” ( Baxter 79). I didn’t realize the responsibilities of the
fire department.
I read deep into my new source and found some of the ways people look at
firefighters. “fire service people are so many things-courageous, loyal, caring, political
animals, allies-well, yes, even softies when they comfort a burned child or raise money
for a fire house family who has lost a loved one in the line of duty” (Price, Lee 20). This
just shows that firefighters have