Garnett Davison has been a volunteer member of the Brooklyn Volunteer Fire Department for 48 years — gradually moving up the ranks until eventually becoming a deputy chief. He was also a director at the fire school helping to teach new members the ins and outs of firefighting.
A tragic incident in his home community of Woodville got him started with the fire department when he was 21.
“It was in February and there was a house fire, and three kids were burnt. It was just over the hill from where I live, only a couple hundred yards away from the house. I thought then, 'jeez, there’s gotta be something else I can do with this fire department.' I’ve kept it in my mind ever since then. Even today, it’s had a profound impact on me.”
“Nowadays I’m not too much involved, not involved in the politics of it, too hard on the blood pressure and all that good stuff. But I still take the training and all that. If a call came in, I’d still be driving the truck or doing interior firefighting. It goes back to that first incident, that’s what still drives me to help out here. I’ve seen some pretty weird stuff and bad stuff over the years too. It didn’t really affect me like it does with some firefighters. I don’t think it does, maybe it does, it’s hard to say. I don’t have flashbacks or things like that. But PTSD really does affect a lot of members. I’m just trying to help somebody, prevent somebody from getting hurt in fires, which I have done over the years.”
“It’s a family thing, being part of a fire department. You never know if you’ll have to pull one of them out of a car some day or whatever. Or help them through a bad situation. It’s like a family unit, that’s the way it is here and that’s the way it should be. Once in a while there are bad times, but most of the time it’s good.”