Wildland Firefighter Foundation
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Home / WLF TheySaid / Am I a true firefighter

  • 02/24/2016
  • Skippy

So as the title states I want to know if its right to call myself a firefighter I was in fire school not to long ago & got my wildlands EMR and hazmat ops ( in Florida) some stuff came up & I couldn’t finish fire 1 this year now people are saying I’m not a true firefighter but I have wildland certs I just wanna know can I call myself a firefighter

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  1. Dodson
    February 25, 2016 Reply

    Well I guess the first question is: Have you ever fought fire in a non-controlled environment? That is the first definition of a firefighter.

    The other part is a bit more complicated. It involves more of a firefighter attitude. Have you worked a lot harder than people think you should and yet you feel like you could have done more? Have you made sacrifices in your own life for the cause? For wildland: Do you think of long hours, low pay, hiking your butt off, and extremely dirty work and you start getting excited? For structure: Long hours, sleepless nights, and dealing with some of peoples worst nightmares, and still say you are proud to wear that uniform?

    My thought is this, If you have to ask, you are not. Training is just part of what makes us. Experience, teamwork, and living and dying next to fellow firefighters.

  2. Ryan
    March 5, 2016 Reply

    Have you fought fire?
    Are you employed as a firefighter?

    Taking classes and training doesn’t mean squat.

    If you have to ask, your not a firefighter.

    1. Len Kraut
      March 29, 2016 Reply

      I agree. I am only an assistant manager in a shoe store, but the moment I sold my first pair of shoes I could call myself a “shoe salesman”!

  3. Mike
    March 8, 2016 Reply

    Is this a joke? I sure hope so. If you have to ask, as others have stated, then you already know the answer. No offense but this sounds like a post from a teenager fretting over what their narrow-minded (and equally inexperienced in fire and life in general) peers think. I don’t even know what certs/classes your talking about. But I am just an old USFS wildlander from out here in the not so wild west. But I digress, back to the point, NO YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY NOT.

  4. Rog
    April 6, 2016 Reply

    although I do believe this was a well-intended question from a kid, I have to agree with what many are saying; if you have to ask on a forum, if you hold the proud title of firefighter, then you are most definitely not one. I was told within a few minutes of my very first day on the job by an old captain of mine “your not a firefighter until you prove you want to earn the name”, it was by that motto I lived until the day I got off probation. It wasn’t until I figured out the true reality of the job, that I realized what it meant to hold the title on my helmet. That title isn’t given to anyone, its earned. One day kid, youll realize what I am talking about, and you wont have to ask anyone. Youll know.

  5. Sue
    April 12, 2016 Reply

    Ditto all the above, I would think you should ask yourself sort of a reality check – why would you call yourself a firefighter and why are you asking the question,

    many people who work in fire don’t call themselves firefighters… other people call them that.

    then you will know.

  6. Smokey307
    April 26, 2016 Reply

    Firefighters are actually a pretty modest lot. “Firefighter” isn’t a name you reach for but rather what your fellow workmates consider you to be. First, a “firefighter” isn’t a jerk, a phony, a braggart, a malingerer, or anyone else they wouldn’t want to put their lives in the hands of. He had to do well on a serious fire, show he could take orders, understand what is going on, recognize that each of us were responsible each other, and have a firefighter’s heart. At 18, I was the youngest crewman on my hotshot crew and frequently asked myself what I was doing there. Another rookie, age 19, was taken to a lookout point on the first night shift on the first big fire of the season. When I relieved him a few hours later, he was asleep. He wasn’t a “firefighter,” he was a Poser and was sent down the road when we got home. One other thing, the ranks of firefighters constitute a large sister/brotherhood and when you are in, you are a member forever no matter what else you do.

  7. Wildland EMT
    May 5, 2016 Reply

    Well I could ask have you been in a “burner” One that makes the little hairs stand up on the back of your neck, and your stomach tighten up wondering , what the hell your doing there? Or have you been in that “training” burn”? Certs don’t make you a “smoke eater” the guy next to you standing on the end of the hose, or that tool you just totted for the last 10 days straight, until then, NO your not a firefighter, Hazmat certs don’t make you a Hazmat Operator. yes my words will sting, but those of us “ole” guys who still fight fire, have see a lot of guys come and go , but the drive to hold that title”firefighter” isn’t a badge of honor, or something you go screaming in the crowd ‘I’m a Firefighter” A firefighter is one who beyond all things holds him/herself higher then most people. And the worst day in someones life the “tones” will drop and We” smoke eaters” will go out into the night in the blinding snow storm , or stinging heat of a 90degree day to help someone whom is scared, or hurt or lost. Till you put in your time “under the lights”, and all who work this life style will understand that statement,will smile a little grin. yes I call you Brother! that’s what makes you a Firefighter Todd Brewer, Fire Prevention Specialist/ wild land squad Boss for Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

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