Greensboro, N.C. - In both the Boston bombings and the explosion in Texas, we heard and saw images of first responders, running toward danger. They are the people who risk their lives to save strangers.
Firefighters share a common bond or brotherhood that stretches beyond cities, counties or even states. When everyone else runs away from a burning building, firefighters run towards it.
"We run toward a building because we have training. We rely on our training to prepare us for most situations," Battalion Chief Brent Gerald said.
Every person who signs up to be a firefighter knows they could sacrifice their life trying to save someone else.
"We want to serve. We want to help people. We want to make a positive difference," Greensboro Fire Chief Greg Grayson said.
"I wanted to be a firefighter since I was a little kid. The thing that draws me the most to the fire service is being able to help people on their worst days," Firefighter Recruit Mark Osiecki said.
When any firefighter dies in the line of duty, whether it is in West Texas or New York, comrades around the country feel it.
"We have a great amount of concern for our brothers and sisters who are in the same line of business because we know we might face the same fate one day," Gerald said.
"We have to train ourselves and be intelligent enough to look at past incidents like what just happened in West Texas and we need to learn from those incidents."
The bond between firefighters burns brighter than any fire.
"The fire service family is like a second family to most of us," Chief Grayson said.
"We go through the same things. I don't care how big or how small the department is, we all face the same dangers. Fire is the same wherever you go," Battalion Chief Dwayne Church said.
Greensboro firefighters often work 24 hour shifts, so they get to know each other well very fast. The last Greensboro firefighter to die in the line of duty was Jesse Gray in 1969.
The Greensboro Fire Department responds to fires in six and a half minutes or less, ninety percent of the time. It's an impressive statistic, but it's just one of the reasons fire departments across the country respect the department.
The department has just been re-certified with a "Class One" insurance rating. It's the only department with that rating in the entire state. It's based on three factors: the fire department's efficiency and effectiveness, the city's water supply and the strength of the city's emergency communications.
"When we do have a fire in a business, we are able to stop that fire and contain it. That business can survive. Jobs survive with it. The economy continues. We're able to have a piece of that economic development by saving those businesses and jobs," Chief Grayson said.
This also means your insurance rates are lower if you live within the city limits. The amount of money you save depends on the value of your home and your insurance company, but it can add up to hundreds of dollars a year.
There are only sixty Class One rated fire departments in the entire country.