By Gary Yost
Three years ago, I made a short film about what it was like to work up in the fire lookout on the East Peak of Mt. Tamalpais in California. The majority of a lookout’s day is spent in watchfulness while listening to Marin County Fire dispatch sending firefighters on calls. As I became more and more familiar with what I was hearing, I began to marvel at how our first responders are instantly ready to help anyone in trouble…and there were plenty of emergencies on that radio. Car and bike accidents, structure and wildland fires, medical emergencies, and more…there are a constant string of crises that firefighters have to respond to FAST.
As I sat there and quietly watched for fires, listening to these people who dedicate their lives to helping us, I became more and more impressed with how ready they are to jump into their engines and roll at a moments notice. I started asking questions of my friends in the fire service: How are you so ready to spring into action so quickly? What does it take to be prepared for literally ANY emergency that might arise? The answers got me thinking about how most people have no idea of the amount of work it takes for these hard-working people to be there for us 24/7, 365 days a year.
Although we all conceptually know that this is what first responders are supposed to do, here is a visual document honoring how our Marin County firefighters make instant-on rescue possible. We shot this at the Throckmorton Ridge Fire Station, Southern Marin Station #9, and at the Marin Headlands, but the same activities occur at every firehouse in the country, every single day.