If you’ve never been around the scene when firefighters are practicing their work by burning a real building, you probably don’t realize the relaxed atmosphere that exists.
Yes, a building is on fire. Yes, the firefighters will have to put it out. Yes, there is some danger anytime one walks into a burning building.
But in a training exercise, firefighters know there’s no victim inside the building. And they know where the fire is. And the don’t let it get too large. And they share. Live burn exercises like the one last weekend in Wendell are opportunities for firefighters from all over the region to come together. They learn to work together. They share laughs and stories. And, sometimes when the training is all over, they party together.
There is a great camaraderie among firefighters, more so, perhaps than any other profession, with the possible exception of professional athletes.
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Social events bring the firefighters closer together and they bring firefighters’ families closer as well.
We saw firefighters from just about every eastern Wake County department in Wendell last weekend. We saw spectators – many of them family members of the firefighters – congregate outside the fireline tape to visit while the firefighters were put through their paces.
Firefighting is a very real fraternity. The closeness firefighters develop in training activities like the one last weekend in Wendell drives them to protect each other when the danger is real and it brings their families together to provide moral support for each other when there is a problem.
We should all be so lucky to have a vocation or an avocation that engenders such a closeness.