February West Broad Blog

February West Broad Blog

It’s after 4:00 am. Cold air hits you in the face as you step off the rig and walk into the bay to hook the exhaust tail. The bay door closes but not before one more frigid gust rushes through you. You step on your heels to get out of the gear you’ve put on 4 times since midnight, hang your coat on the jumpseat door, and make sure the rest is squared away for the next one. Relief will arrive in a few hours however there are no guarantees that was the last bell of the tour. Cold, sweaty, almost delusional from sleep deprivation, and out of habit you cruise through the kitchen and pour up the Bunn-o-matic. The rest of the house is up, waiting on a cup looking like a band of rags pre-shave, pre-hair product, and pre-tooth brush. No telling what everyone’s day looks like after a long night, no telling what’s on everyone’s mind, no telling because no one is telling. The senior steps over to the pot, lets out a long sigh, and pours 2 cups, one for him and one for the boss who's finishing up reports in the office. You pour a round for the rest of the guys, take the half a cup that’s left, and make another pot. 

Sit down in the day room, look around, catch a couple of grins from the crew and a snide remark about how the coffee tastes like shit. You can’t help but be happy, and have that warm fuzzy feeling inside because you know what a privilege it is to be assigned to this house, on their rig, with these knuckleheads…best Job in the world. It happens every tour. The entire crew ends up together, sipping a cup, getting the day started even though at the stroke of midnight you were likely already up and at it. But the coffee never changes, and the crew is always together, and the discussion is always worth listening to, and all you want to do is do this for the rest of your life. 

Each time we step across the threshold and enter the firehouse we’re entering the world of opportunity. There've been many firefighters before us, with us now, and many that will come after us that step across the threshold and put time in. Most people go to their job, live for the weekend, and dread going back on Monday after a short reprieve….not us. No matter what’s going on in life, stepping into the firehouse, hanging our gear on the rig, making sure we’re road ready for the tour all makes us keep coming back for more. Over and over and over again, we come back for more, we desire the ride and the fight, we love this shit. 

Throughout the fire service there’s a common undertone that will always be there. It’s not in your face or loud and proud, but rather a subtle vibe. If you’re on the Job and into the Job you know what I’m referring to. You feel it in your gut, you know it’s real, and oftentimes there’s not a way to explain it very well. And more than likely you’ll never be able to explain it to someone that’s not on the Job, and that's okay. The way this makes us feel, the way we feel about all the things we have to do and get to do…well, it’s Tradition. The best way to explain all of it is Fire Service Tradition. While we get to enjoy and be a part of fire service traditions, it’s also important to realize and know that we, in fact, are not just enjoying the traditions and the beneficiaries thereof, but we are an integral part. 

If fire service tradition was a house, we’d all get one square foot of it. The question is this,”What will we do with our one square foot of fire service tradition?” Becoming a firefighter is one of this world’s greatest gifts, but integrating into the Job successfully and being an integral piece, it’s something we have to strive for and work at every single day, forever. The gift is the “becoming,” but the “opportunity” is the reward…the reward of a lifetime. What will we do with our opportunity, with our one square foot of fire service tradition? We hear the term Tradition a lot on the Job, but it’s not a washed up term. It’s not a term we say without knowing what it truly means. “Tradition” has gravel in it’s crawl. Tradition is the punch in the teeth you invite. Tradition knows when to comfort and knows when to flex. Tradition is the fire service’s guiding light, its moral compass of sorts. Tradition respects the lessons and qualities of all that crossed the threshold before us. Tradition is current, it is repetitive in nature, and it continues to push firefighters through the hard days. Tradition is the backup firefighter for all that is good about the Job. Tradition gets tired and begs for more. Tradition has a 3rd Cylinder and even a 4th on the tough jobs. Tradition is whatever old firefighters used to do together, it’s what you do now with your crew, and it’s what will be done together in tomorrow’s firehouses. It requires honesty, humility, respect, professionalism, humor, love, empathy, and it requires us and begs us to keep showing up. 


One of our biggest missions at West Broad is to keep Tradition Alive in the fire service. If you read us or follow us, you’ll see us talk about this alot and spend a lot of time and energy on Keeping Tradition Alive. Reason being, the most traditional thing in the fire service is you, the firefighter. We believe in you, we’ve got your back, and we’re going to continue to find ways to support you and our fire service traditions. Below is our Keep Tradition Alive message. We’re proud to be a part of the fire service and we’re excited to continue doing our part along the way. 

It’s easy to get in a groove, to continue to do the same things over and over and over. And we’re not talking about the daily and beautiful grind of the fire service, we’re talking about the decade to decade act of doing the same thing and expecting different results knowing that our cities are different, our rural communities are different, hell, our firefighters are different. We fully expect for every firefighter in this nation to be looking to get better somehow at their position, their skills, their attitude, and their ownership of the job. What we will not do is negate, disqualify, or ever forget the time spent what we spend doing today, by those that came before us. “Keep Tradition Alive” is not a movement, it’s not a club, it’s not even the end all be all of the fire service. The end all be all is the firefighter, because at the end of every day, the firefighter should have the most accountability and the most support to affect our citizens for the best. “Keep Tradition Alive” is a challenge, simply, to take what’s been earned in the past and make it better for the future. We often forget about the hard road that has been taken to get to the NOW. We should honor the salty sweat of the firefighters before us, honor their legacy, and use it to push us forward as we create the next tradition, the next standard, the next level of legit accountability towards serving others. Tradition is not from a certain year or time frame, from a certain person or group of people, but rather it is a collaboration of generations carrying on a purpose in its entirety for the entirety of its need. The fire service will always be the saving grace of our society. It’s what makes the job worth it. It’s what makes the sacrifice worth it. First to the citizen. First to the fire. First to the victim. First to the patient. First to each other. Let’s “Keep Tradition Alive” while we’re “Creating Traditions” along the way. Honor those that came before us by putting the work in today. “Keep Tradition Alive.”


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