Many children grow up dreaming of becoming a firefighter – of rescuing cats from trees and saving homes from becoming engulfed in flames. But what is a day in the life of a firefighter really like?
John McKearney, Chief of the Vancouver Fire Rescue Service says being a fire fighter is pretty dramatic.
“A lot of the work we did was work off the tower cranes. So getting people that work in tower cranes…it’s quite nerve-wracking when you’ve got somebody who needs your help up there. Leading a team up there, it’s quite scary when you’re a hundred feet in the air trying to tend to a gentleman who has medical issues and also get him put into a device we used to bring him down.”
He says at the end of the day, it’s all about working as a team.
“In my career, I can think of one fantastic officer who fell through a roof, and is still with us today. So in my tenure, in 36 years, we haven’t lost a firefighter in the line of duty.”
McKearney says the biggest misconception surround firefighters, is that people don’t fully understand everything they do.
“Extinguishing fire is certainly the most dangerous thing we do…but probably accounts for 40% [of what we do]. But on top of that firefighters also respond to medical calls….That’s probably 70% of the response. On top of that fire fighters also do building inspections and doing enforcement responsibilities.”
Listen to Lynda Steele’s full interview with John McKearney below.