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Test of Courage



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Downpatrick, N.Ireland

My names damien im 16 and i would just like to say that fire fighters are one of the most bravest people alive they have to go into all sorts of dangerous situations without knowing if there going to come back alive!my father was a fire fighter for 21 years and has just retired because he fell of a ladder when he was out on a fire call and i cant wait to become one ive went on fire calls with him wen i was a child and have never forgotin how heroic the job is and how satisfying it is knowing that you have just saved someones live! thanks

Clayton, NJ

I think it is a good job because firemen and firewomen do a excellent job. They put in all this work to get on the trucks and save lives, then the life they save, that person says that firefighters are their heroes. I agree. I want to be a firefighter.



jessica kontul
columbus OH

Hey, i am jessica i am 14 and i've been looking 4 a website like this 4-ever! i highly respect the men and women in the line of duty! both police and the one and only, FIREFIGHTERS! They do so much for our community! U peoples have incouraged me more and more 2 realize how much desire i have 2 bcome a firefighter!I have wanted 2 b a firefighter since i wuz 8! when i wuz 11 my family experienced a house fire. we lost everything, but that wuznt the point it wuz who had been their 2 help my family and i out of the house. (we were safe) bcause of the people who i like 2 call 2day heroes.
I have been thruogh 5 car accidents and 1 house fire, i am still alive 2day because of these heroes!

i give everything 2 u guys! u knw how everyone always asks u guys why would u wunt 2 run into a burning building when everyone is coming out? (somthn i would like 2 experience some day)well my dad's police chief aksed me that the other day? and i told him the same reason u wuld take a bullet 4 someone
! i mean its so not the same effects at all! i understand, but they both risk putting ur life on the line, right?
i wuld just like 2 specially thank u so much 4 everything u do and risk everyday! thanx ~italia girl~

denver colorado

Hello, I am a firefighter and have been for the past 8 years. I work on a big city department(Denver) and the goal of diversity is something that we are working with every day. It seems that the goal to hiring personnel to address diversity is to go by the color of the skin not the measure of their character. I'm asian, and feel diversity is very important, but we should always focus on the best "person" for the position. Sometimes the best person is not a minority.

new york city

yo a city firefighter and i saved lives during 9/11...i brought a couple of people down the steps and broguht them to saftey from about the 50th floor...knowing that i couldnt save everyones life and that there were many people who died including my friends was very difficult...i love everyone and r.i.p. 9/11 xo

tyler johnson

hi i am tyler johnson and i am 10 i have wanted to be a firefighter since age 2 the only reason i want to be a firefighter is to save lives no other one of the surrounding community voulenteer fire dept. asked me to take a traning drill with them and i enjoyed it so every monday i go to the fire station 7 pm for meetings i think its amazing what we can do saving so many lives each year.

Agnese Nunno
Toronto ontario

I realize that being a fireman is not easy at all. You run into fires while everyone else is trying to run out.My question to you is where do you get the courage to do that? I try to put myself in your shoes while trying to firgure out that question; and the only thing I can come up with is you care more about the lives of others then yourself. I really respect firefighters for that.Now I have been fortunate not to have been caught in any fires, but I saw my church burning down when I was small and I remember being amazed at how the firemen worked to put out the fire and get the people out safely. I never really thought about wanting to become a fireman then. I resently saw the movie Ladder 49 that is what inspired me to want to become a fireman. I hope that when I am older I will be able to become a fireman like yourselves. Poeple tell me that I have a gift for helping others, I wish to expand this gift by becomeing a fireman.
Thank you



You guys have no idea of how thoughtful and thankful i am of you! You save millions of lives every year! I have a huge essay thing due now, and it's about the patriots, i am going to write lots about you guys! Hey, i'm not the only one here who appreaciates your work, i know may people do. I could never be someone like you, but i still love you for doing what you do!


Elicia Fernandez

I have always wanted to be a firefighter because i love helping people. I would rather die helping somebody then not getting to have that chance of saving someone.


hey guys, I don't know how u guys do it, u guys seeing bad smashes and seeing people dying and hurt. U guys saving people from fires and putting out fires. It sounds to me that u are truly born heros. thanks guys

San Marcos, Texas

Hey i think yall are awusome im 14 right now and when im older i want to be a firefighter becuse i think saving people is awusome and puting out fires is cool to u guys got a lot of courge i hope i can be just like yall some day

Dooby Wong
Fremont, Cali

Hey Guys, I think you all are amazing!! I can't even think of where all the 9-11 firefighters got their courage! God Bless America from Alpha to Omega!!

stephen lamphier
stryker Ohio
The fire fighters put there lives on the line for us every day. We owe them more then we can give. that is why they want our friendship. our friendship means the world to let them know we care for them,and that we respect what they are doing for us realy means a lot to us. I do not know about you , but i am only 15 and i am going to be helping my fire department out. In anyway i can,and i think you should do the same thing with your fire department. Make them proud of you.Let them know you are proud of them. I want all the fire fighter to know that i do care.

New york
Hello, I'm Megan I'm 12 and I am a firefighter for michias. well actually I have to wait 2 more years. anyway I need to ask a question. how come when you are at a seen and say if i was scared and fighting with you what would you have to do in order for me not to be scared?

I'm a firefighter that works with women on every call. Either a Medic, a employee with a Ambulance company, or a firefighter that is going into a burning building. So yes, i think women are getting an even playing field.

cleveland oh.
will there ever be an even playing field for women and minorities in traditional white male-dominated fields such as firefighting or police work?

no because as long as women have to go through the same endurance test as men how can it be equal,knowing that women don't have the same physical and mental strenghts.

Im living in Sydney, Australia and am currently in the second interview stage of the recruitment campaign.I sit for my second exam this thursday and then on to a physical. I think it will be the most rewarding/satisfying career. I cant wait!

austin, tx
i have wanted to be a firefighter since i was like 5. i am pretty sure i can pass all the tests except for the physical test because i dont think im very strong but im going to boot camp this summer hopefully. what else would be good for me to do so i can pass that test?

Nathaniel Willsie
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Hi, About 5 years ago, wanting to become a firefighter hit me and now i can't stop thinking about. I want to find things that will help me become a firefighter, and i was hoping i can get some info on what courses in high school and when finished school, which courses are good for me to take.

Being a Firefighter is not just a regular job, to me but i want to help other and go in the those Situations and have fun.

Sudbury, Canada
I teach psychology to students in a firefighter preparation program in our local community college. I'm thrilled to have found this website, and appreciate the real images and perspectives you present.

I think firefighting is among the toughest work that a person can do. The "down time" is probably more challenging than most people realize (its unpredictable nature alone would drive many people nuts), and the courage that is necessary to face the incredible dangers is monumental as well. I don't know that it's the "best job in the world", but I can certainly fathom that it involves some of the "highest highs" AND the "lowest lows". That's some test of human nature.

sarah starkiss
i'v really wanted to be firefighter since i was 9 and i am planniong to do it when i am 18 and i need to know what qualifications you need to have to get in to the fire service and i think the job is really cool

Boulder, Co
As of 9/04, the city of Boulder's percentage of women firefighters is now 9%.

Shelbyville, Tn.
Thank you for the wonderful job that you do. I know how hard your line of work is because my dad was capt'n for 30 years at the fire dept. He is now retired from the city. I hope that maybe if something comes up and I get an opportunity to work there, I will be able too. Thanks again!

Hi there, I think this job is reall hard and I thank you guy so much that you help people. Thank you Love josiane

North Carolina
I think its great that somebody has made a show showing what us firefighters go threw to save lives. Im 17 and have been doing it for 2 years and I love it we sit around at the station watching cops wishing someone would make a firefighting show. Thanks again and keep it posted when the show comes on.

Hi there, I think this job is reall hard and I thank you guy so much that you help people. Thank you Love josiane

Christine Chin
Thank you very much for the wonderful documentary. "Test of Courage" has a special place in my heart because my father was the first Chinese American firefighter in Oakland back in 1972 and retired after 25 years of service. I am especially proud of my father because he became a firefighter without the aid of Affirmative Action.

I think that ANYBODY who is qualified in EVERY aspect should be given the same opportunity to become a firefighter. I am OPPOSED to "lowering" the standards of their tests just to include a higher number of diverse applicants. It does the people and the applicants a disservice. I suspect that those who make it would want to know that they were hired because they deserved it and are qualified, not because the department needed to fill a quota.

I think firefighters are true heroes AND hard-working individuals. Only the brave would run INTO a burning building to save people when instinct tells us to AWAY from or OUT of a burning building. I think it takes a special person to be a firefighter - stong (physically AND emotionally), dedicated, smart, selfless, hard-working and BRAVE. My father has always told me that being a firefighter was the best job ever and he was honored to be one!

Im 15 years old and i want to become a firefighter. im starting (rop) at my school and would like any tips on how to become a firfighter. so this is what i think of firfighting.

I think that firefighting is one of the best and most difficult jobs on earth.the things that firefighters put up with like , the intens heat of the flames, backdrafts, dedications and willing to take a risk for another persons life that you dont even know. that takes alot of dedication and love for the job to stick with it.

I think the women play the same roll in all of this. they are just as tuff as all the other firefighters. just not as stronge. even though i feel there will never be an even playing field for women in the firefighting buisness or the police buisness. i still think they diserve the same amount of respect as the guys.

Women are treated differently in the US Army. The physical standards for women and men are the same for sit-ups, but differ greatly for the two mile run and push-ups. Do women have different standards in firefighting? I noticed on this message string some women boasting of getting higher scores than men during fire training. Is the playing field truly level? Or is it lowered to accomadate females? If it is like the Army, there's no need to brag about high scores.

Portland, OR

I want to respond to a previous responder who said women are not capable of doing the job of firefighting and that he would not rely on woman to save his life. I have been working as awildland firefighter for three years now and yes I can say there are physical differences because I am also a personal trainer with a degree in physiology, so I understand the biological differences. But, I have worked with a crew off 22 men being 1 of 2 girls and time and time again I have beaten or scored higher on physical tests than about half of the men on our crew. I will also say that the crew I work for has some of the highest physical standards out of the 90 Type 1 Hotshot crews in this nation. I have also found that the women in this field can often take a lot more of the mental stress of the job over many of the men. I am proud to say that not one time could I not perform a job because of my gender. I will hike gear, tools, etc. for miles just like everyone else. Yes, I know women that can't do it. Yes, I know men that can't do it. This is not the day and age to make gender generalizations.

Fremont, Ca
Excellent show, I watch it over and over and over. Being a Fire Science student at a local Community College that offers Firefighting classes as well as a EMT class. it is great to see the process of the process on how firefighters hire. Soon I will be going through that road. Getting my Firefighter 1 Cert, and then my Paramedic licence. I wish you would do more firefighting shows. Keep fighting those fires.


Hey i think that you are all so amazing. I've wanted to be a firefighter for about 7 or 8 years now. Every since i was about 8 or 9 years old i've wanted to be one. Now i am 15 almost 16 years old. sophmore year. Soon i will have to decide what college i'm going to go to. It has always amazed me about all the things you do. I think it would be a great feeling to save someones life or help them out. The way a firefighting team works, how they're so close and everything sounds a lot like my X-country team. We hang out all the time and do stuff together, guys and girls. I spend more time with them than my actual family. I run varsity for x-country. I was our 3 or 4th best girl this year. I know that i have a lot of endurance. When i tell my friends the miles we run and the workouts we do it seems like they die just thinking about it. A lot of my friends think i'm crazy. but i know this will help me tremendously in becoming a firefighter. I want to make to the commitment of
becoming a firefighter in at about 7 years or so. Keep up the great work you guys do everyday.

kaylee Miu
St joseph, Missouri

I really think you guys are doing something really good.
you guys are my hero.


I think that yall were brave on the day 9/11. i mean noone that brave i know would of done that. i know yall may have lost some members but who ever is that brave i know would be out there helpin. It's a tragedy but it's life that is how life is.

Big Guns Girrrrrl
Oakland, CA

J.C.- First of all, learn how to spell. Secondly, there is a firehouse in San Francisco that you should visit. It's called the "hen house". You'd never hear these women worrying about being dragged out of a fire by any of the other women. Moreover, seeing as though we pass the same physical agility tests that men take, we drag those same 180 pound dummies that you drag! If we can do that, then we can drag your dumb 200 pound a** out too. Then again, maybe your problem is that nobody would want to save such a backward thinking individual as yourself.

On a more positive note, I'm very grateful that your way of thinking is becoming more and more of a novelty! Get smart, JC. Accept change. Women bring other skills to the job that perhaps an all male environment lacks.


Since 9 11 the majority of Americans have finally woken up to realize the true heroics of firemen. But the firemen who went to the WTC are no different from the firemen around the country (and the world). They all risk risk their lives on a daily basis and if you put any fireman (or woman) from any station in the same situation they would have done the same thing.

It is unfortunate that it took such an event for people to realize this about firemen- hopefully everyone has. After the attacks, people opened their wallets to send money to the help the fire departments recover. While this is a generous act, why must it take such an event for people to give. Volunteer firemen not only face the same job as career paid firemen, but also work their regular jobs in addition to added hours trying to raise the money to keep their departments running to protect US. I grew up in a home that resided in a community protected by volunteer firemen. My father is one, and now my brother is. So few people in the community donate the money the department needs to buy new equipment, trucks, gear for the firemen and so on. Yet those people who do not give money expect the volunteers to show up if their home goes up in flames.

What happened in NYC was a tragedy, but the funds will be there, federal, state and local, to rebuild the departments. Look in your own back yard at your local VOLUNTEER heroes who not only put their lives on the line to save you and your neighbors, but dedicate countless hours to raise the funds needed for the fire company so that they can AFFORD to save you.

i have never been more angry with a man's perception of whether i can do this job or not, than when i read JC's comment. i have busted my ass since i was 14 to be able to make it in this profession. However, i would also like to thank him. i have been looking for that last little bit of motivation in training for the state physical agility test. so thanks, you can be sure that comment is going on the wall at my home's just the motivation i need!


Your brother-in-law couldnt be more wrong. All of us should remember we are all out here for one save lives. We don't do it for the recognition if risking our lives to save just one it was worth it. I am vfd there is no shame in that. I love what I do and know why I do it. To save lives. If a woman sets her mind to something she can do it.. only a man would try 2 hold her back. And in response to a few of you, yes I could carry you out of that building. You know who ever wrote that comment and is on any department should be ashamed of themselves. We are all part of a team. There is no I in team male or female we are a team. We have one common goal. And we all look to reach that goal.


This is a great site and the program was very enjoyble. If you are interested in becoming a Firefighter or EMS provider we suggest you visit another web site at: to further your education and find possible job opportunities.



what u guys did sep.11th was really brave im so proud me and my friends are making a book called,our heros starring,YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!
maybe sometime you guys can check it out

candice (once again)

ok some of you people really like to piss me off. for the person who said they can't consider firefighters heros, because they get paid??? um excuse me but what does the word VOLUNTEER mean to you. to me it means someone who helps other people or does a job without getting paid, does that mean nothing to you. my dad is a VOLUNTEER firefighter and he always goes on calls to save peoples lives everyday, he doesn't get an award, money or anything he gets the feeling of pride being able to say i saved a person's life today. so the next time you see a firefighter instead of looking at them like you are just in it for the money think, that may not be so true because like my dad he could be a VOLUNTEER. and to me that is the ultimate hero. someone who can lay their life on the line for someone whom they have never met before. thanks candice


this is for whoever wrote that firefighters are cocky white guys bustin up peoples property. my father is a volunteer firefighter who risks his life for arrogant people like you who don't realize what these people go through. ever see a grown man cry, go talk to a firefighter about their most horrific call, maybe he'll tell you about the time he pulled a little childs lifeless body out of a car that his drunk mother was driving. or the time he dragged a cocky arrogant asshole out of a burning building like you but when the person recovered they would kiss your ass for saving their life. so before you write anything about my dad and every fire fighter out there just think if you were trapped in a burning building or an overturned car who would come to save you? firefighters don't just fight fires buddy they save lives and they wouldn't think twice about saving yours. so you really made yourself look bad, and i have no respect toward you whatso ever.


i am 15 years old and my dad was a firefighter but he got hert when doing his work and he had to quit becuse he could not do anything but he has goten better he is an his feet and doing work and i am prowed if him he said many lives and he was proud of himself and fierfiters and making the world a better place so thank you my God bless

christina mendenhall  <>
avella pa

I am 16 and I just became a jr volunteer firefighter, it is the coolest thing I have ever did and I really havent got into it yet. I have only been on about three emergency calls. Just with those three calls i have figured out that I really like doing this I really like saving people. growing up my step dad used to always take me to the fire hall to look at the 'big red trucks' now my little brother who is just five years old loves to go with us down to see all the trucks and go for rides. well I guess how i got on to this web site is for some information for a report I have to do.well I guess since sept. 11 I just want to do as much as I can!!!

Kyle  <>

I am 17yrs old and live in southern california. right now i am in high school and have only thought of firefighting as a career. I have spent the last month or so in an after school firefighting class and have come to understand what fireighters really are and an answer to a topic. Firefighters are both heroic and hard-working. I havn't met one firefighter yet that thinks of firefighting as a job, or does it for the money. All the firefighters that i've met seem to love saving lives, helping others, and don't care about their pay. I couldn't imagine a better feeling than the feeling after saving a life. That is why I know that firefighting is what I want to do. but i need to figure out what steps i should take in order to become a firefighter. If anyone reading is a firefighter, please help me out. How did you become a firefighter and what steps would you recommend i take after high school? it really helps a lot to hear input from real firefighter. my email address is . I have the dedication for whatever i need to do and all i need is to get on the right track. Thanks.

Cara Dagenais
Montreal, Quebec

i am having an argument with my brother in law...he seems to think that woman are not given equale training in firefighting and in the army, like they make it easier for us...what i would like to know, becuase he wants statistic proof that woman and men are treated the exact same way throught to know if woman and men are equaly treated in the training program.
thanks very much

((You would want to contact the International Association of Firefighters in D.C. They should have statistics on gender. If you are looking for stats specifically from the Oakland Fire Department, you can call their training division.))

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