Thank You, Firefighters

Leslie Chen and Ashley Zhao

2020 has been a devastating year for the climate: many countries around the world have recorded their worst wildfire season in decades, if not in all of recorded history. Over 26 million acres burned in Australia. Portions of the Arctic reached unprecedented temperatures and shattered previous wildfire records. A summer of blazes lit the Amazon rainforest like never before.

Earlier this year, our community faced an unprecedented fire threat, as the Bobcat Fire advanced dangerously close to city boundaries. The City of Arcadia issued evacuation warnings for residents near the foothills and urged people to stay inside, due to the unhealthy air quality from the smoke. 

In these tinder-dry conditions, our firefighters worked around the clock on the front lines, working to protect residential communities and wildlife. If not for these efforts, there is no question that this fire would have been much bigger and more destructive, claiming homes and even lives. Instead, firefighters from our community, as well as crews from other cities, worked tirelessly through brutal conditions to tame the blaze and ease our fears of the threat it posed. It takes great courage to don a heavy uniform and run straight into an inferno. Unpredictable wind patterns and unfavorable land conditions don’t make the job any easier, too. 

Most people typically separate their work life from their personal life, but for firefighters, the line between these two becomes almost nonexistent. To completely grasp their devotion to the job, one must understand that these first line responders spend countless hours awake, with shifts ranging from 10 to 12 hours for days at a time, or even up to an entire day or two straight. Through their sacrifice of sleep, meal times, and even holidays spent with loved ones, firefighters must always keep themselves alert for the next emergencywherever or whenever it may be. Even before they step foot into the station, firefighters must undergo written tests, health examinations, and grueling physical training: all the more proof of their drive to protect and serve. Providing whichever community they preside in a sense of security, firefighters possess an unwavering dedication towards public safety unrivaled by few other professions. 

On behalf of all those who can call their homes safe (and the occasional cat in the tree), thank you to the brave men and women who dedicate their lives towards protecting and serving their communities. For their courage and commitment, their service, and the sacrifices they make, here’s to all the firefighters around the world!