A retired fire chief pens reflections on his life as a volunteer firefighter. Fire Chief by Ed Daniels shares experiences and sacrifices until now known only to the volunteers themselves. In his first novel, Fire Chief: The Story of a Volunteer Firefighter, author Ed Daniels recalls his life as a volunteer firefighter in the mountains of Colorado. Based on actual events, the book takes listeners into the heat that countless volunteer firefighters face every day throughout the world.
Most people don't realize that the majority of the firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics who respond to fires and accidents in rural areas are volunteers. These first responders sacrifice time with their families and their careers, responding at a moment's notice to protect the lives and property of those who need them. While he fictionalizes his characters and locations, Fire Chief describes Daniels' actual experiences and encounters in frightening detail. He relates stories of house fires, wildfires, car accidents, and back country rescues as they really happened. We gain insight into what was going through his mind, his emotions, and his reactions as he responded to horrific incidents sometimes involving family and friends.
Woven throughout his emergency encounters, Daniels describes what it is like for a volunteer fire chief trying to balance the load of raising a family, handling a career, and leading a team of sometimes-unruly volunteers. Listeners go along for the journey as he grows into an expert leader who eventually retires and reflects on his lifetime of bravery and public service.
Daniels said, "I want others to be inspired to volunteer and to see for themselves what life is like as a first responder. People should have a better understanding of what their neighbors and friends are experiencing as volunteer firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics."
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This is real. I know, I've been there.
With such excellent narration as was performed by Dave Johnson, I always prefer the audio edition because I listen while I run each day.
The parts of the book that dealt with the sometimes extreme politics within the volunteer fire departments really hit home with me. As a volunteer firefighter myself, I can tell you that petty politics play a major role in an otherwise completely altruistic effort. Non-firefighters will also come to appreciate the emotions of the volunteer firefighter who, all too often has to leave his family or his work to answer the call of duty. It's a strange combination of adrenaline, guilt and satisfaction.
- Jerry Dilliard