Answering the call

by Gabbie Albrecht
If you ask any child what they want to be when they grow up, some will say, “I want to be a firefighter,” because their heroes are firefighters.

Extinguishing a fire, rescuing someone, or getting to drive a firetruck is so exciting to some people. To those who know what it’s like to be a firefighter, they see their job a little different.

Hannah Sowle, a General Studies major, is an active firefighter in her local community. She is a member of the Sir William Johnson Volunteer Fire Department.

When she first joined the fire department, she was a probationary firefighter.

“If we got a call, I was the one running back and forth between the scene and the trucks getting tools. I was on a probation period, I couldn’t do much,” Sowle said.

Sowle has been with the fire department since she was sixteen. When asked why she wanted to become part of this force, she explained that it was something she had always wanted to do because she grew up around it.

Serving as a firefighter is the Sowle’s family tradition. Her grandfather, father and younger brothers all have served as firefighters.

Sowle has taken classes in Vehicle Extraction and more recently finished training in Fire Police.

“On the scene of a fire or motor vehicle accident, I am the one out on the road directing traffic,” she explained about her current duties as a fire police.

Her goal is to continue training and taking classes to further her abilities in the department. She hopes to have a career in emergency services.
Being a firefighter isn’t an easy job, but being a volunteer firefighter can be even more difficult.

“Paid firefighters have crews on shifts so they are always prepared. I go out on my own time. When we are called out, we try to get as many people as possible. Volunteers require more training, from what I’ve noticed,” said Sowle.“It varies from department to department and also counties.”

On campus, she is part of the American Sign Language club. Off campus, Sowle holds a steady job, while maintaining relationships around her, yet she still finds time to help where there is a need.

As difficult as it is to be called at an inconvenient time, she still answers the call. She understands that “all hands on deck” is especially important in a volunteer fire department.

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