From Firefighters United on Facebook, telling it how it is:
"Extremely powerful and well written, sent to us by a serving firefighter who wished to remain anonymous
'What people don't see....
'The media is a powerful and sometimes suggestive tool. It can provide us with warmth but more often than not hurtful images or facts, some may be true, some maybe twisted, or some may be plain and simple fabrication.
'Take the fire service, a mere drop in the ocean of the governments stats and wealth, to which we float on such an insignificant craft, only being portrayed by most news reporters or MP's as 'everyday jobs warrant everyday wages'. I'm not here to say what's right or wrong, where money should be spent, where cuts should be made, but I'm here as a Firefighter to speak from my heart.
'I listen to my mates in the pub joking about 'cats up trees' playing snooker, drinking tea and laugh with them to keep the peace.
I read the papers, listen to the news, hear of fat cat bankers and greedy firefighters, to which I always keep the peace. But if only, they would know what we feel when all our training and all our spirit has to go against the negativity portrayed in today's society to do what we do best.... Save lives.
'We can fight for justice with our boards and flags on every day of strike, people beep as they go past, only really seeing what the media portrays. But does anyone actually realise outside the families of dedicated firefighters what we feel?
'I'm fighting for my pension, my fitness, my contributions, flying flags on picket lines and blowing my whistle, not for greed but for what I signed up for. These folk in offices looking at stats, comparing figures and coming up with XY and Z...... Do they actually feel what we feel?
'Today was one of the worst days in my career... From getting the turn out sheet to arrive incident, we all knew as a crew that feeling. To putting every bit of drill and theory into practice to save a life, to remaining calm for onlookers not to cast doubt, to remaining calm when our hearts were beating and pulling with sorrow. We remained professional, dignified and competent. We did our best and we want no praise... Sadness and pain is too heavy to be overcome by a pat on the back.
'I arrive home to greet my kids running out the door.... " daddy " they shout with arms flung open. My love for my family is immense but the sadness I carry from today's incident breaks me to tears. I squeeze my kids till it hurts them and as innocent as they are, they feel something isn't right with Daddy. My wife knows... She's seen it before, she's wise enough to give me space but to be there when I need. The sadness is engraved along with the images and sounds of today's incident. I will never forget what i saw today, the sounds of tears and screams from loved ones and passers bye.
'But we hide it so too well. We remain professional like we are taught, expected to do our jobs, apply our training and sit back and in silence do what we do best. Save lives.
'Today the police, paramedics and Firefighters worked as a team. A unit. A joint force for only one aim. To save lives. I felt proud in being a firefighter no matter what the outcome. The news doesn't capture how we feel, the pain and sadness we carry...... They just don't see it.
When I retire from serving the community I live, I won't be getting a big fat bonus, a 40% increase in my monthly pay, recognition in the national papers for just doing what I'm paid to do.
'But I'll probably work 5 more years, pay more contributions, work harder to maintain my health, pay more tax and suffer greatly if I have to leave early.... ALWAYS remember the fatalities, the noises, the smells, the look on families faces, the graphic images we have to look past, the pain we feel when our efforts to save lives aren't enough and loved ones are lost. The anger and hatred we have to hide for people that cause these incidents when we then have to save them.
'I won't be rich when my pension finally comes, I can't just forget about the job that I've done.... It's engraved, it will never go, I will always see those images....'