1. Never lose your sense of humour.
You’ll rarely lose your sense of perspective or sense of fun being with firefighters. There’s something truly special about this bunch of humans and I’ll always be grateful to them for their big hearts, as well as the crude jokes and wise cracks. You cannot have a big head in these situations and your pals will swiftly knock you out of a bad mood (or you, them).
2. You’re stronger than you think. Live strong.
It’s easy for the mind to cancel out, to tell you can’t do something, but you HAVE to be as competent as possible on the fireground and be humble while you learn everything you can. There’s no excuse to brush something off as an impossible task and you need to be as fit as a fiddle to handle it or otherwise be strong enough to delegate. A fire won’t wait for your self-talk or excuses for why you can’t scale a mountain! Be strong. Ask for help. Turn anxiety into excitement. You have to push past barriers and believe in yourself – and if you don’t think you can, there’s someone who does.
3. The fire service will change you.
When everyone else is fleeing a bushfire, we’re charging into it (with reasonable caution, trust me!)… and it’s a beautiful metaphor for facing challenges in life and taking care of each other. Each of us is fighting different battles. It’s important for us to look after each other, learn everything we can and look after the planet. I’m learning to communicate better, stay calm in stressful situations, and problem solve as a team… as lives count on it. Being in this service teaches a tremendous respect for Mother Nature, a greater appreciation for the resilience of the human spirit and the value of kindness that shines in this service and community.
I look forward to building these skills and using them in all that I do.
When the going gets tough, keep on truckin’.