Calling All Teens & Young Adults! Young firefighters tell their stories.
In the winter of 2018, several energetic junior firefighters were interviewed and their comments were highlighted in the lead article of the newsletter. Two years later an impressive trio of them, who are now full-fledged members of the Fire Company, tell their stories. Their names and years of service are Luke Fisher (3), Arlan Miller (6), and Ervin Zook (3).
They have had memorable experiences as firefighters. For the first two weeks after Luke turned 18 and became a firefighter, he was out of the country and unavailable to go on calls. However, ten hours after he returned home, Bird-in-Hand had one of its biggest fires on Miller Lane in five years and Luke helped fight it! Also memorable for him was the community spirit and support he felt at the Rick Nields memorial service in 2017.
Ervin was still very new to firefighting when he rode on a fire truck for the first time on the way to a garage fire. He recalls that it was a moving experience for him as he watched the firefighters working together. Arlan remembers his first fire and also responding to the first serious accident. Moving from his status as a “junior” to firefighter without all of the restrictions made him feel useful and a part of the team.
It is amazing the number of skills that firefighters learn as they are trained to do the best job possible. Ervin is the first member of his family to become a firefighter so he says he was a blank slate without any prior exposure. He soon became very interested in the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and First Aid part of the training because it was hands-on. He has gone on to become an emergency medical technician (EMT). His skills are recognized at his place of employment in a construction business office and he is the go-to person for any injuries in the shop.
Being given the responsibility of organizing and caring for firefighting gear at the age of 18 was challenging for Arlan, but he rose to the task. Taking responsibility and also learning to work with other volunteers has spilled over into his career where he is now the assistant manager in the shop, using those same skills on the job. He has learned to get along with others and take their ideas into consideration.
What impresses Luke is that the firefighting skills he learns at the training sessions carry over to the real life fire emergencies. When he is on a firefighting scene, he has a different perspective than before. He has learned to stay calm and as he puts it, “No freaking out,” even though the situation is a chaotic emergency. Now, when Luke is faced with stressful situations in other parts of life, he knows to slow down, stay calm, and meet the challenge. As a firefighter, he feels his communication skills have improved, something Arlan and Ervin have also experienced.
The goals of these young firefighters are to continue learning in order to get better at firefighting. They want to excel and be effective at what they do, and be open-minded to changes and new developments. They plan to pass on these skills to others who will come on board in future years.
Their involvements at the Fire Company have fostered an incredible sense of community in Luke, Arlan, and Ervin. They know many of their neighbors who are also firefighters and together they work with community members at the Fire Company fundraisers. They recognize that it is their job to know what is going on in the local area. Which businesses are expanding? What new buildings are going up and how are they constructed? What potential hazards are out there?
According to these three fine young men, these are the benefits of firefighting …
Fulfilling. Rewarding. Worthwhile.
Teamwork. Life lessons. Fun.
They encourage other young people in the community to come and join them as firefighters. Everyone’s skills are needed!