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Behind the Badge: Salt Lake City firefighters sacrifice their holidays to protect lives and property

Behind the Badge

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Utah first responders like Salt Lake City firefighters know that working on holidays comes with the territory.

The men of A Platoon at Salt Lake City Fire Station Number 2 are husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons but that all gets put aside when they’re on duty, even on the biggest family holidays of the year.

On a recent Thursday afternoon something was smoking at the firehouse: a 10-pound Butterball because this was Thanksgiving which fell on A Platoon’s 48-hour shift. 

Capt. Calvin Christiansen has been with the Salt Lake City Fire Department for 16 years so how many holidays has he worked? 

“Seems like all of ’em if you ask my wife,” Capt. Christiansen said. “You know your family always misses you when it’s a holiday like this.”  
“We are leaving our family at home,” SLCFD firefighter/paramedic Justin LaMarr told Behind the Badge. “But this is like a second family to us coming here, working with each other and all of us are close friends.”

“We all get along. I think we all give each other a hard time but it’s fun,” fellow firefighter/paramedic Kristopher Jenkins added. “We play off of each other. I think we laugh a lot. We know when it’s OK to joke around and when it’s not.”

It’s a camaraderie that develops through living together, training together and sometimes risking their lives together to protect the residents and property of downtown’s west side. So they remain ready to respond no matter what the clock or the calendar says.

“The second that bells ring we can prepare ourselves mentally and physically. We slide the pole and get ready,” Jenkins said. “I think that after time it’s just normal. It’s something that we’re just used to.”

“Everyone that is a Salt Lake City firefighter they love what they do and they have a lot of passion for what they do,” Capt. Christiansen said. “They understand this is our job and these are some of the sacrifices you have to make to come and do it.”

Before the turkey was served…before we could even finish our interviews…A Platoon was called into action. Firefighters slid down the pole, rushed to put on their turnouts and within seconds rolled out of the station onboard an engine with the siren blaring.

Fortunately, A Platoon will get to open presents with their families this Christmas morning…because C Platoon will be working that day. 

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