Hard Knock Life

I was at a fire the other day and the firefighters did a wonderful job; as they always do.

Fast, dedicated, professional, brave, strong, courageous, daring – and that was just the EMS response.

The Fire crews were even better.


Judging by their tanned faces, healthy demeanor, positive attitude and well-built physique, something tells me these guys are somewhat underworked.

To prove my thesis, I went on an undercover mission to Engine Company #26 to find out what goes on behind the scenes. The results were shocking.


A Day in the life of a Firefighter


0700      Alarm clock rings – With incredible alacrity – the Fire Chief presses the snooze button

0900      The crew is rudely awakened by a passing ambulance with sirens blazing. Chutzpah!

1100      Chief does a roll call and requests that, “He who finished the milk – go buy more”

1300      Chief does a roll call and asks whether the crew prefers falafel or shwarma for lunch

1500      The crew is hard at work – pumping iron in the backyard of the station

1700      The crew is hard at work – cleaning and polishing Ladder 26

1900      Some personnel stay to play Xbox while others attend a “Fireman appreciation ceremony”

2100      Actually it’s rather quiet at 9pm

2300      The dispatcher is overheard on the phone “Sir – We don’t remove cats from trees unless they have beens stuck for 48 hours”

0100      The dispatcher is overheard on the phone “Ma’am – Can’t you put it out by yourself, it’s just a fire in a bin for heavens sake!”

0300      The dispatcher is overheard on the phone “Why are you calling so late – it’s in middle of the night!”

0500      Phone rings five times and then:

“You have reached the voicemail of ‘Engine 26’ – if this is an emergency, call EMS. Those guys never sleep”



Dearest Firefighter,

We both know that at least half of the above is untrue. Please pardon my extensive use of poetic license, also known as artistic license. Please know that artistic license is a generally accepted practice, particularly when the result is widely acclaimed.

This blog is widely acclaimed – by my wife at least.

My brother is less keen.

Artistic license, also known as dramatic license, glamorizes real-world occupations for the sake of an exciting reader’s experience. For example, in the above schedule I omitted some of the more mundane aspects of the job such as paperwork, reports, and administrative duties, which in reality often constitute the majority of a fireman’s work. As was probably immediately obvious, even to the uninformed reader, there were many aspects of the day that I failed to mention. Items such as, who the milk culprit actually was, and whether the old lady did indeed manage to the put the fire out herself, were excluded for the sake of brevity.

On the other hand, I also presented other duties with much more action, suspense or drama than would be experienced in reality. On most days, (excluding public holidays), there is absolutely no free choice for lunch – the chief unabashedly plays dictator at the takeout place.


Absolutely all joking aside;

I have found the firefighters in Jerusalem to be a really amazing group of people. They might respond to fewer emergencies per hour than their EMS brothers, but when they do get off the couch, they are unbelievably talented and dedicated. Aside from the obvious job description of putting out fires, these guys are expected to have a myriad of other talents, and they perform, every time. Their street-smarts are truly a marvel to behold, and I have seen them work miracles tens of times – always with their trademark humility and caring.

When you really need help, in any sticky situation, call the Jerusalem Fire Department.

Between the hours of 9 to 5, that is.

At all other times, please call EMS – those guys never sleep.

Scroll to Top