PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Right now, hundreds of firefighters are being called in to help fight wildfires and keep our homes and families safe. But, that pulls them away from their own loved ones.
We want to show you the personal sacrifices these men and woman make every day in order to keep our communities safe.
When a firefighter takes the oath of service, they’re promising the highest level of commitment. Besides putting their own lives on the line for hours, even days at a time, they’re also missing out on important milestones back at home
Chris Havird and his team are miles away from home.
“I am a Park Services Specialist from the Timber Unit in Blackwater,” Havird said.
Down from the Panhandle area, Havird’s team is working in Pasco County, helping get control of the Starkey Fire.
Havird says fighting the flames is the easy part. The hard part is being away from home during special occasions.
“I need to say ‘happy anniversary’ to my wife. It was our one year anniversary on the seventh.”
He’s not alone.
“We have three engine companies out here. We basically cleared out three station houses, so those station houses are empty,” said Shawn White, with Pasco County Fire.
Once they’re on site, their long shifts can last for days at a time.
“They’re working about sixteen hour shifts. So, day works sixteen, and night works sixteen.”
Once this fire is out, Havird and his team will move on . They’re just not sure when or where.
Related: How to prepare for a brush fire
“It’s kind of a day-to-day basis. We’ll find out tomorrow or in five minutes where we’re gonna be and how we’re gonna get there,” Havird said.
Until then, despite missing their families, there’s one other thing that is for sure. Getting to sleep is always easy.
“We get good sleep. I mean, after a long day, you hit the pillow pretty hard.”
For Havird’s team, at least for now, they’re calling a Pasco Holiday Inn their home.
Havird tells us the clean beds and soft pillows have never felt better after a hard days work.
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