About four years ago we had to call 911 twice in a period of two or three weeks. It was not too long after Maggie got her trach and things were terrible. I was working frantically to get Maggie to breathe and Steve just dialed three little numbers. In a matter of minutes a truckload of firemen arrived followed closely by the paramedics. Both times Maggie was taken to by ambulance and admitted to the hospital and both times she recovered. That recovery is in large part thanks to the assistance of the San Francisco Fire Department.
It is a source of some pride to me that with all the medical emergencies we have dealt with that we have only had to call for help twice. It is also a source of great relief to me that the excellent help was so readily available. Those professionals took care of Maggie and they took care of me too. (see Maggie World: Memorable Statue). Happily we have not needed them since, but I have rested a little easier knowing they are there if we do.
The San Francisco Fire Department, probably like fire departments all over the country, seems to be made up of men and women that you want to hang out with. They are real life heroes who just go about their business and seem to have fun in the process. They wave at kids while on their way to put out fires and respond to every possible emergency in all parts of the city. They're as cool as cool can be. Really, who doesn't love a firefighter?
A few years ago a friend was awakened by a firefighter banging on the door telling her to get out of her apartment as the building was on fire. As she stood outside on the street in the early morning hours, she asked a firefighter if he would get her pet rabbit to safety. He went right in and pulled the frightened but unharmed bunny out, cage and all. How sweet is that.
In another case I witnessed a traffic accident. A little girl and her mom were in a car that was hit by a red light runner. The car was messed up and could not be driven. As the paramedics tended to (the slightly) injured in the other car, a fire fighter went to the little girls wrecked car, pulled out a wrapped birthday present, put her on the fire truck and drove her to her friend's birthday party. They turned a scary situation around for her and I'm sure she was the talk of the party when she arrived in a fire truck.
This week another family had to call for help as their house suddenly caught fire. The family escaped as the fire truck arrived. Without hesitation the firefighters rushed in to do their job. Two of them didn't come out. For the first time since 1946, two San Francisco Firefighters were killed in a fire. The fire department and the entire city is bereft.
My heartfelt condolences go out to the families of Lt. Perez and Firefighter/paramedic Valerio, and to all members of the San Francisco Fire Department. We take you all for granted far too often. I thank you for all that you do every day.
I also feel badly for the family who called for help that day. These men were doing their job protecting that family and paid the ultimate sacrifice. I cannot imagine what they must be feeling. But I think we all know that it could have been any of us calling for help and they would have come.
Because that is what they do.