I grew up in Harford county Maryland which is served by all volunteer fire and EMS personnel, at least when I was a member. My father was a volunteer at our local station when I was growing up. I often would be at the firehouse as a young kid. When I was fourteen there was a very large woods fire in Rocks State Park. I was at the firehouse as i often was when my dad would respond to a call on weekends and during the summer. This time there was a need for more manpower and the Chief of our company asked my dad if I could go to help, he said yes and that was my first fire that I helped with. I was hooked. In Maryland, 16 year old's can join a volunteer fire company. I joined as soon as I was eligible. I was an active member for 14 years, when a career decision had me moving to California. When I got there I was very disappointed to find out that all of the Firefighters and EMS where paid in the county that I lived. This ended my time as I firefighter. It has been 16 years since that move and my time as a firefighter ended but, my heart still quickens when I see a fire engine responding to a call and I still listen to the action back in my home town thanks to the internet.