*Story by Student Resident Firefighter Jalis Bullock
Camaraderie – Combination of both friendship and trust among members of a close knit group. I was asked the question the other day, “What does camaraderie mean to you and how does it pertains to the fire service?”
I thought for a minute and came up with this.
I have been able to experience camaraderie in several ways with the shift I have been on at the El Dorado Fire Department. The first example is how we push each other to perform better at our jobs on and off duty. We participate in regular training, both physical and mental. Physical training includes practicing putting on gear, the use of hand tools, tying knots, and physical conditioning at the YMCA. Mental training includes going over study material for my classes and getting quizzed on everything about the El Dorado Fire Department. Off duty we meet at the YMCA on a regular basis to push each other to achieve physical goals both on the track running and in the weight room.
Another way our team promotes camaraderie is doing activities together as a group. We eat together at the table and engage in conversations to get to know each other better. We perform our cleaning duties as a team, with each member pulling their weight. We spend our down time in the evenings together. Most important of all we run calls together. All of our training and mental preparation gets tested when the alarm goes off. All of time we spend dragging the fire hose through the dirt, sweating in our gear, pushing ourselves to the limit is when our camaraderie solidifies.
I started with the El Dorado Fire Department as a Student Resident. Now I feel like I am a valued team member that is relied upon to do a job. Finally, to me camaraderie in firefighting is to know each of our team members on a personal level. We have trust built between ourselves forged through hard work and commitment.