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Volunteer Firefighting This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I've wanted to be a firefighter ever since I knew what it was all about. I was born into a family of firefighters. My father and my uncles have been firefighters for longer than I've been alive. I think I was about 6 when I heard the fire whistle blow and watched my dad run down to the Sharon Hill fire station. With great pride, I smiled and prayed. I prayed that my dad would come back safely. And, he did every time.

The daily activities of a firefighter, especially at my point in training, consist of the upkeep of the equipment. There is so much that firefighters are responsible for. The engineers check the engines daily. As individuals, we maintain our personal gear. We know that this equipment is what keeps us safe. Also, we make sure that our axes, saws and other tools are usable. They have to help us get our job done quickly and safely.

Every firefighter, at one point in time, gets nervous. Fear is unavoidable in life but, we learn to conquer it with experience. My one fear is that I will make a mistake. Right now, I know enough not to put myself in that situation. I stay out of danger and I only do what I am told to do. I follow our rule: stay on the truck until I am told to get off.

There is one difficult challenge I had to overcome: being a female in an all-male environment. It never bothered me until some of the guys would leave me out of a situation because they didn't know if I could handle it. Once everyone understood my serious intentions and abilities, they knew I was capable of being a good firefighter.

In the two years I've been involved, I've met many special people. One person, in particular, is special to me. I always swore that I wouldn't be interested in anyone in Reliance Fire Company until last year around prom time. Gabe is our current lieutenant. He took me to my Junior prom. We only went as friends but it has continued to grow. I know everyone in the company is looking out for me, but he will always be by my side.

I've learned everything I know from my fellow firefighters. I was able to become an acceptable help on the fire scene. I love what I do because I love the feeling of being able to help someone. I've grown up with the people I work with. My current chiefs are great teachers. I will continue my fire training as long as I can. You can never know everything, especially about firefighting. I suggest firefighting to anyone who asks me about what I do or what it's about. We can use all the help we can get. We can never have too much help!

Being a firefighter gives me a proud feeling inside. I know I've helped someone in some way. This has definitely changed my life. I will continue to prove that females can do the same things as any male. I love my job and I will continue to make a

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This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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