Last Ride

 from Fire Engineering

Last Ride


By Michael Morse

It’s crazy, but every now and then I have to remind myself just how good I have it. You would think that being a firefighter on one of the best departments anywhere would remind me of that every time I went to work or, now that I’m retired, remember going to work, but it doesn’t. All too often I find myself taking what I have for granted and failing to see the bigger picture. I forget that while the job is hard, there is a world of people out there who would give just about anything for the opportunity to do what I did. Fighting fires and rescuing people are hard, make no mistake, but what can be harder still is working for 20-, 30-, or 40-plus years without the opportunity to save a life, or make a difference.

Most people have a little hero in them, I think. Most people think they will stop everything and risk all to save a baby from a burning building or dive into a freezing lake to rescue a person drowning after their car went over an embankment and quickly submerged. There are tons of people ready, willing, and able to do CPR on a person who has fallen at the gym or restaurant or bike path. But most people will live their lives having never been tested and never knowing if they could, or would, perform.

It’s got to be hard to never know. It’s got to be difficult  to show up for work every day for 20 years with no end in sight, no pension for another 20, a few sick days, two weeks’ vacation if you’re lucky, and not a chance of anything exciting happening. It’s got to be hard to wonder…

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  • Kris Anderson says:

    Yes, it is hard to wonder….
    hey, Coach, I got a question for ya, k?
    First I want to say Thanks for the stories; they keep me going. I’m studying my tail off to be a (lowly) EMT. I want to help people. I just like doing that, it’s me, it’s who I am. So it may as well be what I do, also. And – I’m 52. Got a kinda late start on this “finding yourself” thing, but I’m on it now. 🙂 So, I have one more test to go & then maybe I’ll finally get to serve somewhere; maybe I’ll get to help people. For now, when I hear sirens, it’s both exciting & depressing at the same time – because I’m feeling “There they go !! go, go, go! yay ! ” – cheering for the ones going to help someone — but at the same time, I’m thinking “there they go – without me. I can’t go yet.” (insert genuine self-pitying sniffling here) So, I’m wondering: what do YOU think (or feel) when you hear sirens, now? now that it’s others going, & not you ? is it only relief? any regrets? and envy? maybe you don’t even notice the sound? does it vary, depending on stuff?

  • Michael Morse says:

    Hello Kris, I am fortunate, I did enough, there is nothing left to elicit much of anything when I hear the sirens. I do have one regret, I wish that people didn’t use 911 and ambulance services as taxi cabs when other means of transportation are available. The abuse is truly demoralizing, and it wears you down to the point that you really don’t miss it, even a little.

    On the bright side, you are starting at the perfect time, you wont have time to get beaten down by the mundane, and be able to focus on what you want to do in the first place, be an EMT, and there is no such thing as a lowly EMT.

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