Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A journey from journalism to firefighting…

I have interviewed firefighters who have been serving longer than I have been alive. I have asked volunteer firefighters why they joined to include that in an article. I had not expected to become one of them.
Ginger Rae Dunbar 

I had never wanted to become a firefighter. Life plans and dreams evolved at some point.

At 25, I officially joined as a volunteer firefighter at my local fire company in October 2014. I became a certified firefighter in Pennsylvania upon completion of fire school in December 2015 at the Delaware County Emergency Services Training Center. At that time, I also passed an exam to become nationally certified.

I always wanted to serve in some capacity. I just never expected that firefighting would fulfill that desire inside of me to serve for a purpose greater than myself. My life experience as a journalist is one of the main reasons why I joined the fire service. I have reported on emergencies where first responders are dispatched to help. The media serves its purpose to inform the public. I wanted to get off the sidelines and join in helping others.

Members of the media were interviewed for a book about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It is titled “Running Toward Danger.” Rod Dreher, a newspaper columnist, said something that reminds the public that we as the media go to the scene too.
“There are three kinds of people who run toward disaster, not away: cops, firemen and reporters," Dreher said.
After a year and a half of being a Daily Local News reporter, I applied to become a volunteer firefighter in Delaware County.

I initially wondered if my career in the media would be a hurtful factor in my application as a volunteer firefighter. We stand on opposite sides of the yellow tape. I heard a criminal justice professor say that the media can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.

The crew welcomed me into the family, just like any new member. I am one of them. My friends call me a journalist by day, firefighter by night. I can’t imagine my life without being a firefighter.
 "There are three kinds of people who run toward disaster, not away: cops, firemen and reporters," said Rod Dreher, a newspaper columnist. 
My application listed two newspapers as my professional employment experience. I knew when I first walked into the station to apply that I did not have a career with skills that would be applicable to the fire service. Despite that, the volunteers saw my background as an opportunity. For example, they allowed me to use my professional skills to write posts on the fire company Facebook page.

It’s neat to report on events that involve firefighters that I have also experienced with my company. I have reported on events such as holiday parades, fire safety prevention week, service awards and more. As a reporter, it’s a great chance to see more of what the fire service involves than its association of fighting fires, and to report that so the public realizes it too.

Firefighting was out of my comfort zone when I first joined. That’s another reason why I considered it. I wanted to learn a new skill. Firefighting is perfect for that because there is always something to learn. It reminds me of journalism because every day is different and you are constantly learning more.


  1. What an incredible journey you've gone on my dear! So proud of you! This will inspire others to follow and reach for things outside of their comfort zone!
    Kevin Mc

  2. Outstanding great blog hope to see more 😎

  3. Raymond you make us all proud everyday. Your mom would be so incredibly proud of you. We are all honored to get to witness you striving greatness <3 Jamie