Have you ever stopped to think about the people who put their lives on the line to keep us safe? Firefighters are some of the most heroic people out there, and they often go unnoticed. This blog post is dedicated to those brave men and women, with a collection of firefighter poems that salute their courage and sacrifice. So take a moment to read these poems, and remember the heroism of firefighters in everywhere.
1. What is a firefighter? – Author Unknown
He’s the guy next door…
He’s a guy like you and me with warts and worries and unfulfilled dreams.
Yet he stands taller than most of us.
He’s a fireman…
A fireman is at once the most fortunate and the least fortunate of men.
He’s a man who saves lives because he has seen too much death. He’s a gentle man because he has seen the consequences of violence out of control.
He’s responsive to a child’s laughter because his arms have held too many small bodies that will never laugh again…
He doesn’t preach the brotherhood of man.
He lives it.
2. My daddy is a firefighter – Author Unknown
My daddy goes to work
And he is well prepared
He loves his job because he helps people hurt or scared
Sharing him is my job
Though it’s hard everyday
I’m so proud of him
And I know I must be brave
I think of him at night
When I lay down my head
I with my daddy was home
To snuggle in our bed
Mommy and I say “Be safe”
As he turns to leave
I smile and wave and pray
Please come home to me
3. Firefighter – Author Unknown
Not many people remember us, Not many people care,
Unless a life is saved or lost, While we are fighting there.
We learn to respect the fire we fight, And even love it too,
In order to end its destructive path,
It’s what we train to do.
There are many who can’t comprehend,
Why we love the things they fear.
We’re the first they call in their time of need,
It’s the reason why we’re here.
The next alarm might make us proud,
And heroes of same kind,
Or maybe it will be our last, In service to mankind.
But whatever fate may bring us,
It doesn’t change our hearts.
We’re Firefighters to the end. We’ll always do our part.
4. The Fallen Firefighter – Author Unknown
A fireman knocked at the heavenly gate
His face was scarred and old
He stood before the man of fate
For admission to the fold.
“What have you done,” Saint Peter said,
“To gain admission here?”
“I’ve been a firefighter, sir,” he said
“For many, many years.”
The Pearly Gates swung open wide,
As Saint Peter touched the bell.
“Come in and choose your harp, my son,
You’ve seen your share of hell.”
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5. Firefighter’s Prayer – Author Unknown
When I am called to duty, God,
Whenever flames may rage,
Give me strength to save a life
Whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child
Before it is too late
Or save an older person from
The horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert
And hear the weakest shout,
To quickly and efficiently
Put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling,
To give the best in me,
To guard friends and neighbors
And protect their property.
And if, according to Your will
In my duty I should fall,
Bless with Your loving hand
My family one and all.
6. The Last Alarm – Author Unknown
My father was a fireman.
He drove a big red truck
and when he’d go to work each day
he’d say “Mother wish me luck”.
Then Dad would not come home again
’til some time the next day.
But the thing that bothered me the most
was the things some folks would say,
“A fireman’s life is easy,
he eats and sleeps and plays,
and sometimes he won’t fight a fire
for days and days and days”.
When I first heard these words
I was to young to understand
but I knew when people had trouble
Dad was there to lend a hand.
Then my father went to work one day
and he kissed us all goodbye
but little did we realize
that night we all would cry.
My father lost his life that night
when the floor gave way below
and I’d wondered why he’d risked his life
for someone he didn’t know.
But now I truly realize
the greatest gift a man can give
is to lay his life upon the line
so that someone else might live.
So as we go from day to day
and we pray to God above
say a prayer for your local Firemen.
He may save the one’s you love.
7. “Can We Make It On Time” – Jerry L. Duncan Jr.
The pagers go off, calling us out.
The dispatcher gives the address, with a loud shout.
I jump out of bed as fast as I can.
Grab my shoes and my keys as they page us again.
I go out to my truck, plug in the dash light.
Cause somewhere in town is a fire I must fight.
Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I see a bright glow in the distance. A policeman yells over the radio “Code 3, I need assistance”
He said there is screaming, coming from inside.
I think to myself, someone is trapped, but alive.
The pain they must feel, I can’t imagine the scare.
I see the station up the road, the chief’s already there.
I pray to God “Please let us get there in time,
To save an unknown life, Lord if you must, instead take mine.”
I speed up a little faster, but still driving safe.
Still praying to God that I won’t be too late.
I finally get to the station, put on my turn out gear.
The chief starts the fire engine and yells “We’re outta here!”
The sirens sound off, the red strobe are so bright,
I pray once again, “Lord watch over us tonight.”
I suit up for action putting on the S.C.B.A.
The chief makes the comment “Boys the Devil wants to play!”
We arrive on scene, not ever thinking one time,
“Why am I doing this?” or “Why do I put my life on the line?”
As we observe the silence and think “this person is dead.”
All of a sudden I see the shadow of a small head.
Looking real hard, trying to figure out what it is.
Oh dear Lord, it can’t be. It’s just a small kid.
Then all of sudden the head moved, “this kid’s still alive!”
So I try to reassure her by yelling “Everything’s gonna be alright!” I always said “I’d die if it would save another life.”
But never once did I think that it could happen tonight.
I run to the front door, Kick it open and run in.
Praying once more, “God, we can’t let the Devil win.”
Crawling on the floor, moving slowly toward the crying.
I noticed a strong smell and loud hissing. Oh No! It’s a gas line!
I knew I had to hurry so I got up and ran towards the cry
I found that little girl, she could barely open her eyes.
The smoke was thick and very hot and getting ready to flash.
I took off my jacket, wrapped her in it and gave her my air mask.
I heard a firefighter outside say, “The roof’s coming down,
if they are getting out alive, they better get out right now.”
I grabbed the young girl as if she were a football,
tucked her in close and ran to the window.
The chief ran up and took her from my arm
My other one’s broken, but at least she is out of the way of harm. Then I remembered the gas line. So I too climbed out the window. And sure enough, that gas line did blow.
The explosion knocked me down, but I got right back up on my feet.
Took no more than 3 steps, then I hit my knees.
Through my blurred vision, I watched that little girl,
with her mom and dad all crying, having a face with a smile.
She then walked over to me and grabbed me by the hand.
She said in a soft sweet voice “Thank you Mr. Fireman.”
We put out the fire, got ready to go home one more time.
I helped roll the hoses, thanking God that nobody died.
And thank you Dear Lord for letting us be on time.
8. A Fireman’s Legacy – CJ Heinbach
My father is a fireman,
He used to respond to calls,
Now he just sits at home and does nothing at all.
He says the department is full of crap,
And are all egotistical and have too much pride,
When I know deep down he loves to ride.
Finally the day comes where the pager beeps,
There seems to be a fire in the barn holding some sheep,
He says this could be a good one and gets up to leave,
Little did I know later, I would grieve,
Once he arrived on scene there was fire through the roof, “Surround and Drown” yelled the captain,
But that was not my father’s gut reaction,
Soon they heard screaming coming from inside,
There seems to be a child and apparently still alive.
He struggled with his SCBA until he heard the familiar beep,
Got down on his knees and began to creep,
Soon he spotted the child under some burning hay,
But this was no time to start yelling “yay!”
For there was a hiss off in the distance,
This he knew from experience was a propane line,
And it would blow if he did not get out on time.
He undid his coat and removed his tank,
And gave it to the child so he did not die,
The fire at this time was raging and wild,
He tucked the child under his arm,
So the falling timbers would do him no harm,
As he scrambled to the window to throw the kid out.
All of a sudden the whole house flashed,
My father knew it he was trapped,
No air, No protection, the end was near,
But he still heard the hissing and that was clear,
The barn was gonna blow, but could he make it on time?
He fought with god, please be kind,
He knelt on his knees and began to pray,
He prayed for the child, he had just saved,
And prayed for the house begging it not to cave,
He looked around and noticed the corrosion,
Before he knew it, there was an explosion.
As I kneel down at his grave,
I cannot imagine what he went through,
To save the stranger he never knew.
9. “I Wish You Could Know” – Author Unknown
I wish you could know what it is like to search a burning bedroom for
trapped children at 3AM, flames rolling above your head, your palms and
knees burning as you crawl, the floor sagging under your weight as the
kitchen below you burns.
I wish you could comprehend a wife’s horror at 6 in the morning as I check
her husband of 40 years for a pulse and find none. I start CPR anyway,
hoping to bring him back, knowing intuitively it is too late. But wanting
his wife and family to know everything possible was done to try to save his life.
I wish you knew the unique smell of burning insulation, the taste of
soot-filled mucus, the feeling of intense heat through your turnout gear,
the sound of flames crackling, the eeriness of being able to see absolutely
nothing in dense smoke-sensations that I’ve become too familiar with.
I wish you could read my mind as I respond to a building fire “Is this A
false alarm or a working fire? How is the building constructed? What hazards
await me? Is anyone trapped?” Or to call, “What is wrong with the patient?
Is it minor or life-threatening? Is the caller really in distress or is he waiting for us with a 2×4 or a gun?”
I wish you could be in the emergency room as a doctor pronounces dead the
beautiful five-year old girl that I have been trying to save during the past
25 minutes. Who will never go on her first date or say the words, “I love you Mommy” again.
I wish you could know the frustration I feel in the cab of the engine, squad,
or my personal vehicle, the driver with his foot pressing down hard on the
pedal, my arm tugging again and again at the air horn chain, as you fail to
yield the right-of-way at an intersection or in traffic. When you need us
however, your first comment upon our arrival will be, “It took you forever to get here!”
I wish you could know my thoughts as I help extricate a girl of teenage years
from the remains of her automobile. “What if this was my daughter, sister, my
girlfriend or a friend? What were her parents reaction going to be when they
opened the door to find a police officer with hat in hand?”
I wish you could know how it feels to walk in the back door and greet my
parents and family, not having the heart to tell them that I nearly did not
come back from the last call.
I wish you could know how it feels dispatching officers, firefighters and
EMT’s out and when we call for them and our heart drops because no one answers
back or to here a bone chilling 911 call of a child or wife needing assistance.
I wish you could feel the hurt as people verbally, and sometimes physically,
abuse us or belittle what I do, or as they express their attitudes of, “It will never happen to me.”
I wish you could realize the physical, emotional and mental drain or missed
meals, lost sleep and forgone social activities, in addition to all the
tragedy my eyes have seen.
I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of helping save
a life or preserving someone’s property, or being able to be there in time
of crisis, or creating order from total chaos.
I wish you could understand what it feels like to have a little boy tugging
at your arm and asking, “Is Mommy okay?” Not even being able to look in his
eyes without tears from your own and not knowing what to say. Or to have to
hold back a long time friend who watches his buddy having CPR done on him as
they take him away in the Medic Unit. You know all along he did not have his
seat belt on. A sensation that I have become too familiar with.
Unless you have lived with this kind of life, you will never truly understand
or appreciate who I am, we are, or what our job really means to us……
I wish you could though.
10. Firefighters Gloves – Candi Powell
A Firefighters Gloves hold many things
From elderly arms to a kids broken swing
From the hands they shake and the backs they pat
To the tiny claw marks of another treed cat
At 2 am they are filled with chrome
From the DWI who was on her way home
And the equipment they use to roll back the dash
From the family of 6 she involved in the crash
The brush rakes in spring, wear the palms out
When the wind does a “90” to fill them with doubt
The thumb of the glove wipes the sweat from the brow
Of the face of a firefighter who mutters “What now?”
They hold inch and three quarters flowing one twenty five
So the ones going in, come back out alive
When the regulator goes; then there isn’t too much,
But the bypass valve the eagerly clutch
The rescue equipment, the ropes, the C-collars;
The lives they saved never measured in dollars
Are the obvious things firefighters gloves hold
Or, so that is what I’ve been always told
But there are other things Firefighters Gloves touch
Those are the things we all need so much
The hold back the rage on that 3 am call
They hold in the fear when you’re lost in a hall
They hold back the pity, agony, sorrow
They hold in the desire to “Do it tomorrow”
A gloves just a glove till it’s on firefighters
Who work all day long just to pull an all-nighter
And into the fray they charge without fear
At the sound of a “Help” they think that they hear
When firefighter’s hands go into the glove
It’s a firefighter who always fills it with love
Sometimes the sorrow is too much to bear
And it seeps the glove and burns deep “in there”
Off come the gloves when the call is done
And into the pocket until the next call
The hands become lonely and cold for a bit
And shake just thinking of it
And they sit there so red eyed with their gloves in their coats
The tears come so fast that the furniture floats
They’re not so brave now; their hands they cant hide
I guess it just means they are human inside
And though some are paid are others are not
The gloves feel the same when it’s cold or it’s hot
To someone you’re helping to just get along
When you fill them with love, you always feel strong
And so when I go on my final big ride
I hope to have my gloves by my side
To show to St. Peter at the heavenly gate
Cause as everyone knows, firefighters don’t wait.
The poems in this collection are about firefighters and their work, but they also offer a wider perspective on life and death, heroism and sacrifice. They are moving, powerful pieces that remind us of the importance of firefighters and their work. We should all take a moment to appreciate the sacrifices these men and women make every day.
Thomas Dao is the guy who created Poem Home, a website where people can read about all things poetry related. When he’s not busy working on his next project, you can find him reading a good book or spending time with family and friends.