What type of firefighter are you?
Kelly L. Leydig
Phoenix Volunteer Fire Department
Paid, volunteer, on-call, or institutional–what difference does it make? We are all in this together. We are here to protect and preserve the lives and properties of the citizens who depend on us.
If you were to ask a person who needs help whether it mattered if the fire department or ambulance service in their area were paid, volunteer, on-call, or institutional, I do believe you would get the same answer every time: “Who cares? I need help!”
When I started my career in the fire service 11 years ago, a friend gave me a copy of the following:
What is a professional firefighter?
The mere fact that you are a firefighter–paid, industrial, institutional, or volunteer–in no way makes you a professional.
You become a professional firefighter only when you exhibit the knowledge, attitude, skills, and habits that have been honed to the highest degree by education, training, experience, and love for your profession.
The example and conduct you display at the scene is, and always will be, the only yardstick by which your peers and the people you serve judge you and the organization you represent.
That judgment will form the opinion of each and every person involved with you and your organization, and that judgment will precede you in the form of your reputation as a “professional.”