Culturally firefighters are a breed of their own. From terminology to an unwritten code accepted by those riding the rigs, firefighters are as close knit as surfers, metal heads, and people who hate reality television.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming all firefighters are alike. Some like country music while others hum the lyrics to Nirvana and other bands that’ve lost their lead singers to suicide. Out of nearly one million firefighters there’s even two who admit to liking Bjork.
Why is it this way? Firefighters, unlike law enforcement, will go to extreme lengths to look out for a fellow firefighter. It’s not unusual to find firefighters from California sleeping in a station in Detroit while they are visiting the motor city.
Shared danger is certainly a possibility. It’s difficult not to respect others who crawl through smoke, endure high temperatures, and risk life and limb to save people they don’t know. So there is a commonality to the fire service just as parrot heads brave inebriation to enjoy Jimmy Buffett.
It’s more than danger though. Coal miners have dangerous jobs but they don’t fly across country to spend time with other miners who’ve died. Firefighters do it many times – an average of 100 firefighters die each year.
It’s difficult to imagine parrot heads doing this. Certainly fans of Bjork wouldn’t. Would they?