Our Blog


What is camaraderie? Mirriam-Webster defines it as "a spirit of friendly good-fellowship". What about camaraderie with co workers working in a dangerous job? 

In the fire and EMS service, we rely on each other - sometimes for our very lives. I recall one time an excellent firefighter was with me in a large burning structure. It was an abandoned factory piled with trash and tires. Green, blue, red and orange flames were all around us. We were led in by a chief officer and told to wait there. We had no water.

Just then a master stream opened up hitting a metal roof in part of the structure. It sounded like world war III.

The guy I was inside with got a bit nervous. Little did he know that before that chief left us in there alone with no water, I had surveyed the surroundings looking for an area of refuge should things go sideways, or worse. I had noticed a large streel girder framework about fifteen feet above us. certainly if there were to be a collapse, we would be safe under it. 

As the metal roof sound worsened, my partner was scared. I grabbed him and pulled him backward so we were under the aforementioned steel framework.

Long story short, he was assured and relieved that we were safe.

It is those types of situations that build camaraderie, and of course lifelong respect and friendships.

Why does this matter? Where am I going with this?

In todays fire service, administrations are continuing to attempt to wrest control of the fire service from those who put their lives on the line, to administrators. It is said at many a kitchen table that morale is being chipped away. Factions within the department are being pitted against each other. These factions argue about overtime, promotions, status, pay differential and more. These attempts unfortunately can be somewhat successful.

Let's go back to the "war" story I told in the beginning. How myself and another firefighter were put in harms way and we found a way to rely on each other and be safe. When administrations are trying to wrestle away control and whittle away morale, we can not take for granted the fact that we put our lives on the line together, every shift. Further we live together during our shifts. We train together, shop together, cook together, eat together, clean together, share bathrooms and dormitories. We must resist the negative forces trying to wear away the fabric, and the very success of our job. We must continue to rely on each other for our very own safety, and to work together to bring incidents to a successful conclusion. 

The reason I thought about this issue - camaraderie - is that this past weekend I attended an event, for the first time since I have been retired. The event is referred to as "embers" (retired firefighters). I saw several of the people I worked closely with - and had some of those "oh S%#t moments with. The years disappeared and it made me realize that no matter how hard the powers that be try to tear about the camaraderie in the fire and EMS service, they will fail. 

Thank you Cleveland (OH) FD Embers. We will attend again next year!

View All Blog Posts

Have a question? View our frequently asked questions or contact us for more information.

View FAQsContact Us