Last night, I watched the season premiere of the Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel. I used to watch the show religiously, but over the past couple of years I had discontinued watching it. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but Deadliest Catch always seemed to capture my attention. Billed by some as the most dangerous job in the world, how could firefighters not be impressed.
In the 2 hour episode last night, the crab boat “Western Venture” caught fire. It had me thinking about how similar their jobs are to ours. Firefighting is often billed by some as the most dangerous job in the world too. I am not here to debate which job is more dangerous, just simply compare the two of some similarities.
Let’s start with what brought this entire comparison to mind… Comparing the crews on Deadliest Catch to that of firefighters operating at a fire.
Crews in peril
The crab boat “Western Venture” had a fire on-board. The crew left the vessel in a life raft and in the end all 5 souls on board were spared. The crew on the boat was all alone in the Bering Sea. Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter and a plane for recon. In the end, the crew was picked up by a “Good Samaritan” boat that was nearby.
Western Venture = Firefighters calling a Mayday
Coast Guard = Rapid Intervention Team (although the Coast Guard is much farther away)
Good Samaritan boat = Other firefighting crews on scene who realize they can assist the Mayday crew and help them to safety.
But really what got me thinking about this is the fact that when the EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) beacon was transmitted from Western Venture, Deadliest Catch crews stopped what they were doing to listen in. None of the crews on the show were nearby to assist Western Venture, but they listened and discussed the events. They spoke about what the men on the boat were going through and how helpless they were. They might have gone so far as to offer a prayer. There was also an undertone of driving home the need for understanding of how bad that experience can be, and how it can happen to any one of the boats.
Isn’t that what us firefighters do?
September 11th, Boston, West, West Webster, Houston, just to name a few recent ones or during my tenure. Did you get online and listen to radio traffic? Did you assemble others at the firehouse? Did you discuss what they are going through? Did you offer prayers for those involved?
Apparently, crab boat fishermen have similarities to firefighters. If you watch the show, you will see the mutual respect for each other, yet extreme competitiveness. Egos, attitudes, physical and mental toughness…they are the same.
Think about it some more…
They operate all alone yet they do have some people to call for help. We operate with other firefighters, yet firefighters are all we have to call for help. Neither occupation have many outlets to call for assistance.
They operate in extreme cold, especially the water. If they were to fall in the water, they only have seconds to live. We operate in the extreme heat. Their air temperature can be our IDLH. Falling in the water is equivalent to us being caught in a flashover.
And then there is the Captain…
Wow, what huge similarities there are among Captains on the show and Captains within the Fire Service. There are some who are leaders, and some who simply manage. If you watch the show, you will see the distinct differences between them.
Some have crews who love to work for them. Some have crews who love to talk about them. ALL have respect that they are the Captain of the boat. Very rarely have I seen any insubordination. Whether you like them or not, the Captain is in charge.
Sure, crab fishermen’s jobs are dangerous. So is firefighting. Yeah, neither are dangerous 24/7. But when we are in the thick of it, we are on our own and operating in or near atmospheres which are IMMEDIATELY DANGEROUS TO LIFE AND HEALTH (IDLH).
What are some other occupations that you find similarities to?