The Life of a First Responder


Lieutenant Nick Stolts puts on his firefighter uniform and gets into the vehicle; the red lights on and reflecting off the dark wet pavement. His crew is hastily getting ready for their latest call; a woman’s car has started to catch on fire and it might explode if it goes up in flames. The sound of the sirens echo through the silence of the night as they swiftly go to their destination.

“As a first responder, you have to be ready for any situation. It’s something different everyday.” The Lieutenant says. First responders are expected to get to where they need to be in as little as 6 minutes, as well as have all the necessary equipment to help with any situation that arises. When they get on the scene, most often, they have little indication of what the patient’s situation is until they arrive. Uncertainty is a part of a first responders everyday life. They train almost every day, but when they need to use certain areas of expertise depends on the time, situation, and location.

For Lieutenant Nick Stolts, the toughest calls are “the ones that involve children and the impact on the families. It’s some of the worst stuff you’ll ever see.” The harshest reality of this job is that there are some lives that you just can’t save.

Nick Stolts, finally being done with his 24 hour shift, takes off his uniform and can finally go home to spend some time with his family, but the traumatic experiences from work aren’t something easy to shake off. “Some stuff you see, there’s no doubt it affects you.”

The psychological toll that being a first responder is something that is not talked about often. Seeing so many people hurt, and having some patients that they’re unable to save is a tough conversation for many first responders. However, people like Lieutenant Stoltz aren’t alone, they have their crew. “We depend on each other, we really do.”

The crew will spend most of their time with one another. There will be laughter and conversation heard from the break room, the aroma of food wafting it’s way into your senses. There are times when they’ll console one another at the dinner table after a hard day. “We’re really like a family.” Nick Stolts says, and the impact his crew has on his life can be seen in the look on his face as he speaks. They stick together through tough times; they are an inseparable team of heroes.