Just a little something for the Families Ab…
Mop-up -Article 6… Thank you Fire fighters
If there is one thing I would change about interface fires it would be to ban all thank you fire fighters signs. Why? It’s simply a safety precaution. Visibility while driving is important. Signs plastered all over the darn place interfere with good visibility.
Magically these signs start appearing towards the end of the fire assignment. They are in the yards of saved homes, on power poles and at the local markets.
Fire fighters drive by and read the signs…Thank you fire fighters…God bless you fire fighters… They can tell some of the signs are the work of children frightened by the fire and needing a way to express themselves. Others are hastily drawn on cardboard by homeowners after hearing the team is going into heavy demob.
14 days ago most of the community wouldn’t have understood demob, incident management teams, or that the Incident Commander is not equal in rank with the Grand Poo-Pah of the local Moose Lodge. Now, at the end of the fire, most are bilingual and speak the fire language fluently.
Again let me restate my opposition to these signs. A person leaving the fire area, base camp or the adopted community doesn’t need to be reminded of what they are leaving behind. They know.
They leave behind the friendships made with other fire fighters, homeowners and community leaders, the spit in the dust meetings with forest industry, dozer operators and company foresters. They leave behind a calling card of their best efforts.
Now as they drive away from the people and the community their only mission is to get home safely. This is when they notice the signs.
By the time the last sign is passed I imagine their chests hurt from holding in emotions that by all outward appearances laid dormant these past several weeks. Not a tear was shed during the turmoil of evacuation. Not a tear was shed for those that returned only to find ashes and rubble where their home once stood. Not because fire fighters are unfeeling, but they were too busy concentrating on the mission, trying to get control of the fire and rendering aid where necessary.
But now you have the time… And I know your chest swells, not necessarily with pride but with a swelling of those dormant emotions you wouldn’t let yourself feel the past 14 days. Your thoughts turn to family and friends as your eyes blur and you can barely read the next thank you sign with out wiping the back of your hand across your eyes.
Now I think you can understand what the visibility problem is. Those wonderful darn signs…with their simple messages…Thank you … God bless you…We love you.
Even the strong and brave are sometimes reduced to tears. It takes time on the line to fully understand and appreciate what these messages mean to those that commit their collective efforts to battle wildfires across this great nation. Thank you firefighters…God bless you…we love you.
Oliver Moore… Family, be proud of your sons and daughters and husbands and wives…be safe and Thank you.
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