My last shift the crew that relieves me was dispatched on a wreck on the interstate a couple miles from our first due area. The call came in minutes after I left to go home. The quad that they responded in is one of the newest vehicles in our department, a $400,000 piece of equipment. They responded with no issues but as they blocked a lane on the interstate and were about to clear the scene they were rear ended by a motorist going approx 75mph. The captain on duty was just a few seconds away from being another statistic in the Line of Duty Deaths for this year. What, if anything, separates the firefighters who get injured from the ones who get to go home safe and sound?
I would say I've been lucky over the past 10 yrs because I haven't had any major accidents or injuries, however I know there is no such thing as luck. To survive and thrive in the fire service everyone relies on faith. Whether you put your faith in your training, the guy next to you, equipment, yourself, or you rely on faith in God. Faith is something we don't talk much about in the station, not until something bad happens anyway. Is the american life or our job so busy that it takes a bad situation to bring us to the topic of faith instead of luck.
I am no specialist on the topic of faith or why bad things happen to good people. One question I struggle with is why do bad things happen to good people? Having gone through years of pain with my own fathers diagnosis and ultimate death from a primary brain tumor, I've learned the hard lesson of tragedy in the face of unknown purpose. In this job when we see cars drive right past open areas only to smash into the only telephone pole within a quarter mile, or fires that seem to prey on lower income homes it makes you wonder if there is something more at work here. Instead of ignoring that gut feeling I'd like to pursue honest answers.
The question of pain and suffering brings to light an ultimate standard for good. What standard do you measure life's good and evil with? Can this standard we gauge life with point us to an ultimately good God instead of blind luck? I'd like to think we can find purpose in the apparent randomness that accidents happen and put our faith in something more solid than our $400,000 equipment or even the guy next to us.