By Nyesha Stone
How many people work a desk job but would prefer not to? Whatever the number may be, Daryan Burroughs knew he didn’t want to become one of those people.
Starting his sophomore year of high school, Burroughs decided he wanted to be a firefighter, so he began preparing. He couldn’t officially start training yet, so he did the next best thing: research. He researched a firefighter’s wage, the qualifications of a firefighter and what firefighters do on a daily basis.
During high school, Burroughs lived with his mother in Illinois while his father lived in Milwaukee. As high school was coming to an end, Burroughs’s father told Burroughs about a cadet program back here in Milwaukee. Burroughs completed the application and he was soon picked to start training for his career as a firefighter.
Burroughs’s father wanted to be a firefighter, so Burroughs used that as motivation to get through his training. His mother was concerned for her son when Burroughs first told her his plans of becoming a firefighter, but after explaining everything she knew this is what her son was meant to do.
This was almost two years ago, and there hasn’t been one day Burroughs dreaded going to work.
Burroughs remembers the apprehension and fear he felt during his first major fire. He looked to his crew for guidance, but now he’s grown more confident and knows his role.
“Once I started to get more experience [then] I started to know what I was doing,” said Burroughs. And this is why Burroughs says seniority matters in his career—the best firefighters are the ones with the most experience, according to Burroughs.
Burroughs has trained his body to within stand staying up for 24-hour shifts. Beds are available in their dorms at the fire stations, but sleeping during a shift sometimes isn’t an option. Depending on the location of the fire station and the time of day, there are many times Burroughs can’t take a quick nap, but that just comes with the job.
There have been a number of calls that have shaped Burroughs outlook on what firefighters do and what roles they play in the community. People look up to firefighters and have this positive image of them, and Burroughs doesn’t want to ruin that. He makes it his duty to treat those he helps as if they were his family members because “your attitude affects how the community looks at firefighters.”
Being a firefighter can be an exhausting job, but Burroughs wouldn’t trade his job for anything.
“Going to work every day isn’t a burden for me,” said Burroughs. “Sometimes I look forward to going to work.”
Burroughs likes the benefits, pay and off time he receives as a firefighter, but, most importantly he likes making a positive impact in the community he grew up in.
Although you need endurance and strength to be a firefighter, Burroughs says you don’t have be a “macho” firefighter to be a good one. It’s all about determination and never quitting even when you’ve experienced the worse while on the job.
He may be only 23-years-old but Burroughs knows this is what he wants to do until he can’t anymore.
“I’m a lot more confident in myself now,” said Burroughs. “Not as much fear.”