Mar 4, 2007

Firefighters and Ambulances

Last week, I saw a line of fire trucks driving by while I was walking. I waved at them and one of them waved back.
An hour later, while I was still walking, I saw the same trucks again. I waved a second time and the same one waved back.

Do you wave at firefighters?

I have this impulse to wave at them, but I never have an impulse to wave at ambulance drivers, mail carriers or garbage truck crews. Why is that? I don't think I am alone in this distinction I make.

Of course, when I was a kid at day camp, we would always try to get the drivers of semi-trucks to honk their horns. That's different. When I wave at firefighters, I am telling them to keep up the good work. To continue being heroes. No one hates a firefighter.

That being said, I can't understand when people don't get out of the way for ambulances and fire trucks. I live near a fire station and so I see trucks rushing to an emergency all the time. About half the time, I see people so intent on their business that they forget that the truck with the blaring sirens is going to save lives or save someone's home or even to rescue a kid who's gotten caught in a chimney.

If you think about it, rather than being annoyed at the noise of the sirens and the slight delay to your commute, you should say a little prayer that whoever needs that firetruck or ambulance gets the help he or she needs in time.

Side Note: Maybe I should mention, ironically, that one of my favorite songs is "While the City Sleeps" which is a funky song about an arsonist by MC 900 Ft Jesus which can be found on the album Rare on Air 3.


acaligurl said...

not only do i wave, i clap and say bravo! (well actually there is a group of us that do that) kids thru adults like firefighters!! and last but not least my dad is retired fd so i am partial to them.:)

Michelle said...

From Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's The Book of Jewish Values, page 3:

"My friend Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, know throughout the Jewish world as 'Reb Zalman,' suggests that whenever we hear the sound of a passing ambulance we offer a prayer that the ambulance arrive in time. Similarly, whenever our sense of calm is interrupted by fire trucks, we should pray to God that the trucks arrive in time to save the endangered people and home. We should also pray that no fire-fighter be injured. And when we hear police sirens, we should implore God that the police respond in time to the emergency."

I guess you're ready to be a rabbi's husband!