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Posted by Bill Faucette on September 12, 2014
Maybe I’m dating myself a bit, but anyone remember the television show Emergency!?(Yes, the exclamation is really part of the title.) I loved that show as a kid and thus began my fascination with emergency services. There’s an excitement and a rush to putting down a fire or saving a life that never grows old, despite how many years you’ve been doing it—which in my case is nearly 33 years now as a volunteer Firefighter, EMT, and Rescue Technician
Of course, as I grew up and matured, the glamour and excitement of the TV show gave way to the genuine emotions of life—helping my community and serving those in need. That’s the real reason I’m still volunteering today. During the course of my 33 years, I served in three different fire departments (Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad (Prince Georges County), Walkersville Volunteer Rescue Company (Frederick County), and the Frederick County Advanced Technical Rescue Team)—traversing the career path in Laurel from firefighter to sergeant to lieutenant to captain, and finally to assistant chief before becoming a Life Member and reducing my participation.
Knowing that my community relies on me, and that at a given time I may have been responsible for up to 200 fire and rescue personnel helped me to develop essential life skills. Leadership. Confidence, Prioritization and the ability to ‘not sweat the small stuff.’ These skills have helped me be a better consultant to my clients during my 25 years at Booz Allen and I’ve appreciated the firm’s support to giving back to one’s community.
In September, as we focus on preparedness, I see the model we use in the fire department as being very fitting for personal preparedness—train, train, train. Firefighters, EMTs, and other first responders never stop training. When an emergency occurs—we have to take decisive action—and the ability to do that comes from careful planning and the reliance on our training. Each of us can do the same in our personal lives. Have a preparedness plan and actually practice it! Visualize different scenarios and imagine how you would survive and what resources you would need at your disposal to aid you. Be sure to include pets and other essentials (required medications, etc.) into your planning. Then practice. The training I do as an emergency services volunteer saves lives, your training could also! Visit Ready.gov for more information! Want to take to take the next step? Volunteers are always needed! Visit your local fire department or entities like the American Red Cross to learn more. You don’t have to ride the ambulance or fire truck if you join, many volunteer departments need support staff (e.g. computer expertise, fundraising, membership). You’ll be making a big difference in your community.