Bulger's Beat: First responders run toward danger, not away - WSMV News 4

Bulger's Beat: First responders run toward danger, not away

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Photo by The Associated Press Photo by The Associated Press

Much of the talk in the aftermath of the bombings in Boston has focused on the incredible response from emergency workers close to the scene.

The mentality of running toward a disaster, instead of the natural instinct for many of us to go in the other way, is what makes first responders so special. That attitude was evident Monday in Boston and is one fully understood by the men and women at Fire Station 9 in Nashville.

"Ordinary people turn into extraordinary people when things like this happen," said Fire Capt. Kristie Bailey.

Like so many watching the bombings in Boston on TV, Bailey also saw those first responders running toward unknown danger just seconds after the explosion, determined to help, while everyone else moves way.

"That's what we do," she said. "We know what we're signing up for."

The quick, selfless response saved lives. While news reports describe their actions as "heroic" and "courageous," those are words first responders, themselves, do not use.

"It's just part of the job. Every guy or lady in here would do the same thing, absolutely. In a burning building, you won't see any of us outside - just inside. We might not come out of a burning building, but we don't really think about that," said Nashville firefighter Kevin West.

Often, their instinct comes before rational thought.

"You either have it inside to want to help or you don't. That's just what we were made for," said Nashville firefighter Chris Harris.

Harris, a 15-year veteran of the Nashville Fire Department, has been there and knows what those Boston first responders are thinking now.

"In my situation, it will never cross my mind until the next day when I get home. Then, you see your wife and kids. It's like a slap in the face, 'Gee, I was in the middle of all this,'" Harris said.

Every firefighter at Station 9 is also a trained Paramedic or EMT, so they are often the first to assist at the scene, whatever the crisis may be.

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