“Firefighting has meant everything to me, from friendships, to building my family and supporting my family. This job has given me an opportunity to help with charities, to develop leadership and to earn a connection around the world with men and women who do the job.”
Portland (Maine) Fire Department Fire Capt. David Petruccelli’s statement about the love of his work is a common theme among those in the fire service, according to several job satisfaction surveys. A recent PayScale poll showed that among civil servants, community and social workers, firefighters report a very high rate of satisfaction in what they do as a profession.
Why? There are numerous reasons, but all have a common thread: Helping others.
“I probably gain satisfaction from being in the fire service because I have a servant’s heart,” said CSU graduate Lt. Vincent Harris of the Henry County (Ga.) Fire Department. “It is really hard for me to say no to helping anyone.”
Student and firefighter/EMT Zachary Cook is also addicted to helping others. ”If you think about it, when my alarm sounds and I rush to the engine for a call, someone is having a bad day,” said Cook, who works for Mobile (Ala.) Fire Rescue Department. “Perhaps the person is having the worst possible day imaginable and my crew and I are the ones they depend on. I’d never wish injury or illness on anyone, but if it’s inevitable, I want to be the one there to do everything I can to help!”
Petruccelli agreed that helping people when things are at their worst makes the job satisfying, but adds that a bond is built among the fire crews while working as a team. That bond is a part of the job that yields a strong sense of satisfaction, too.
“The bonds that my crew and I share are thick and true. You cannot safely enter a fully involved burning structure or any other potentially risky situation without the trust and knowledge that your buddies to your left and right have your back and will be there with you no matter what,” said Cook. “To me, the fire service is comparable to the Marines I had the pleasure of serving with in Iraq and other parts of the world.”
Harris also enjoys, “that feeling you get when you have a good crew and a good supervisor to work for that makes you enjoy getting up in the morning — knowing that they depend on you and you depend on them. Currently, I have three great guys that work for/with me that I trust and consider to be an extension of my family.”
CSU student Nick Zamiska (pictured above) describes the fire service as “a brotherhood of men and women who not only work together to help those in their times of need, but also work together to make their professional and personal lives better.”
Zamiska, a lieutenant and HazMat team leader at Brecksville (Ohio) Fire Department added, “It’s a bond that firefighters share and despite the stressors associated with the job such as difficult incidents, budget cuts, etc., we have each other’s back each and every day.”
Students and alumni in the fire service said they also get satisfaction from another type of bond– connecting with the community. Petruccelli and others value the importance of being part of a community and feeling connected. From informing citizens about fire prevention to saving lives to charitable efforts, knowing they are helping a larger group as a whole brings more meaning to what those in the fire service do.
“Firefighters join the fire service to make a positive impact in the lives of those in need. It’s a professional that stems from deep tradition and we owe it to the forefathers of this service to continue this honorable duty,” said Zamiska. He added he gets job satisfaction from the excitement of the fire ground, along with the grateful “thank you” of a homeowner. “That is what makes this the best job in the world.”
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