As soon as I started working as a fireman for the Metro Dade Fire Department in Miami, Florida, I realized that I was in the middle of a very special situation in life that not many people see, know a lot about, or much less experience. I found myself in a unique position to experience a fascinating life style with a diverse group of funny, interesting, dedicated, giving, and resourceful men. It was as if I was suddenly granted a special gift. I was given the opportunity to see first-hand and to partake in a never ending procession of diverse, exciting, emotional, funny, unbelievable, sometimes unfair, and often dangerous things that only emergency responders can experience. It was an added bonus having the public welcome us, respect us, and befriend us.
One of my goals in writing this book is to explain the inner-workings of the fire department. I want others to know what really goes on, and to learn about the day-to-day occurrences in the lives of firemen/paramedics. I think you will be both interested in and surprised by the insights I offer, the revelations I make, and all the fire department knowledge you are going to come away with after reading this book. You will also be amused by all the funny, off-the-cuff things that my fellow firemen said and did all day long, both in the station and on calls.
Even though I was a part of both an international brotherhood of firefighters and a long tradition of firemen, I often considered myself an outsider on the fire department. I never really fit in with or went along with the mind-set, the semi-military chain of command procedures, our often-neglected safety, the reactionary mentality, and the ever-present nonsense on our fire department.
This book is basically my outlook on the fire department, and I emphasize the word, my. I offer many revelations on a variety of subjects, and I go into detail about a number of interesting topics. Hopefully, I sometimes do it in a humorous way. Through my stories, insights, and vignettes, I talk about the diversified nature of the job of a fireman/paramedic, the characters that make up our department, interesting calls that we've gone on, the day-to-day situations we find ourselves in, the actions and reactions of the public toward us, station life, health and safety issues, and much, much more.
My revelations also include stories and observations from going through Fire College, to cooking and eating at the station, to working with female firefighters, to repeatedly getting woken up in the middle of the night, to delivering babies in strange situations, and to the feelings I get when I’m wearing my fireman uniform and riding on a big, shiny firetruck.
After reading this book, I think you will have your curiosity satisfied about many things you may have wanted to know about the life of a fireman/paramedic. Besides learning a lot of our terminology, you’ll learn about our procedures, daily routines, and what goes on inside fire stations. Hopefully, you will never look at or think about firemen the same way again. My main desires are that you enjoy reading this book, gain knowledge, and come away with a different perspective of firemen and the fire department. I hope that I’ve made a positive contribution, and you enjoy my outlook on all the happenings that went on while I was living the life of a fireman/paramedic in Miami.