The sound of random alert tones on a radio may mean nothing to you but to firefighters it signals an emergency and triggers a series of questions.
"We have to think what time of day it is, whether the person may be home or at work, is it night time or day time, whether the entire family is home," Quincy Firefighter Jerry Smith said. "We think of what neighborhood it is and what type of construction it is."
The Quincy Fire Department responds to more than 4,000 calls a year. Of those calls, 75 percent are medical emergencies and the rest are fire related.
"We don't know what we're going into, we don't know what's a head of us, we don't know how long that fires been burning," Smith said. "If it's a basement fire, did it burn a hole through the floor? If there's no flames visible and it's all smoke we can obviously fall under the floor, we can fall down basement steps and we can go through a wall."
"When we come to work in the morning it can be a slow day or a very busy day," Public Education Firefighter Jerry Mast said. "We have no idea what those calls are going to bring so we have to train for every aspect and hope we're prepared for when it happens."
QFD trains every month for at least three days. During that time crews learn everything from new protocols to latest training skills. (Check out Kristen take part in a mock fire by clicking, here.)
"It's just all the small details that go on behind the scene that people don't see," Smith said.
But most of the firefighters say they didn't get into the business for recognition.
"We got into this job, all of us did because we like to help people and for some of us it's an adrenaline rush," Smith said. "No call is the same, no fire is the same."
"I like the excitement," Mast said. "I like the excitement of being a firefighter and helping people, seeing the reaction on people's faces and having them come up to you after a call or weeks later to thank you for what you and your crew did. I think that's the big thing."
That's what keep them coming into the firehouse everyday, despite the dangers.
"It's the satisfaction of going out there and knowing somehow you made a difference," Smith said.