Me and my daughter were passing by a fire station, when she said she wanted to go inside and see the fire station for real. So I made a U turn and drove into the parking lot. But to our disappointment it was closed. But our next visit was quite eventful.
Not only did we go inside, we got a friendly guide accompanying us. He showed us the in and out of the fire trucks, the 100 feet tall ladder, the fire hose, the bell, the emergency tools, everything. He then showed the famous firefighter attire and the helmet. My daughter was a bit scared looking at the giant fire trucks but overall her curiosity about fire stations was served to a certain extent. When we said thank you for his time, he said, we can walk in anytime we want to and in fact lot of schools actually make field trips to this fire station.
Our friendly guide was actually a teenager who was a volunteer for that fire station. In our brief conversation he happened to mention that he also attended quite a few emergency calls in the middle of the night and how he always wanted to be a fireman ever since he was a kid. As a matter of fact the town he lived at didn’t have any volunteering opportunities so he joined the one in iselin which is quite some distance.
While driving back, I began to ask myself,
- do kids back home get a chance to visit the fire stations,
- do kids back home ever want to become a fire fighter,
- are there any school trips to the fire stations
- are fire fighters treated as heroes, at least I never in my entire childhood thought about a fire station or a fire fighter
Of course every small or big town in the US has a fire station, this is not how it’s in India. But apart from that what is also lacking in he Indian context is the value system or in other words “dignity of labor”. Come to think of it, if there is a fire, irrespective of who you are, be it the most popular doctor , engineer or the most hated software professional or the elite astronauts or scientists, at that point in time, the fire man is the messiah and there is nothing more important than the value of a human life. So it doesn’t make any logical sense that a fire fighter is looked down upon. ( http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-01-21/thane/28135603_1_firemen-raw-deal-brigade )
Anyways, when I asked my daughter if she wanted to become a fire fighter she said no because she was afraid of the big fire trucks but at least she does consider the fire fighters as heroes.