BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WDTV) - 'I want to be a firefighter!" is A common answer to the childhood question 'What do you want to be when you grow up?" However, for the men and women who actually do grow up to become firefighters...the job takes a lot of dedication...heart...and courage.
"We go into people's houses that we've never been into before; we basically go into these houses blind under smoke and fire conditions," said Matt Reed, a paramedic, and firefighter with the Bridgeport FD.
While many view them as heroes...they just see danger as part of the job.
"You don't view it as a high-stress environment, it's just the daily routine for you," said firefighter Steve Pill with the Bridgeport FD.
Every day at the station is different.
"We could run anywhere from 5 to 15 calls," said Pill.
A firefighter never leaves the station without their gear. They have about 60 seconds to put on their life-saving uniform before heading out on a call.
"Our gear protects us very well in that type of environment...but there's a lot of it to wear and it can become heavy and tiresome," Pill said.
The gear weighs about 75 pounds, now imagine wearing all of this in a burning building that's 800-900 degrees.
However, they do a lot more than just put out fires. They can also provide EMS services.
"They don't understand that we're the same entity," said Reed.
One of the most difficult parts of the job is working extremely long hours.
"We work 24-hour shifts, so we're gone away from our families for a full 24 hours," Reed said.
To become a firefighter requires 100 hours of training, plus additional classes if you want to become an EMT. It costs about $15,000 for the department to train a new firefighter.
Despite the hardships, these firefighters say they wouldn't want to do anything else.
"Work with a really good group of guys and just doing the job and providing the service," said Reed.
"I love doing what I do; I would not trade my job for the world," said Pill.