Mykhail Baehr

Firefighter
• Toronto, Canada
Mykhail Baehr outside in uniform - Behind the Uniform

I’d rather dedicate my time for much less money, for the pure enjoyment of life – you can’t put a price on that”

I had it all worked out, I was working part-time and at school learning finance.  I’d already tried, and enjoyed, a number of jobs in film and film production but now, armed with my Life Insurance licence, it was time to get serious.  I’d begun training to be a portfolio manager in mutual fund sales. 

One morning, we had a guest speaker come to the class from a reputable investment firm, he had a ‘dog eat dog attitude’ and, in spite of obviously doing well financially, he didn’t have a smile on his face.  He told us that to get started we’d need a ‘warm market list’ of wealthy people we could approach. That was a problem, I just didn’t know those types of people.

Also in my class was a firefighter for the Greater Toronto Area and he helped me understand that selling mutual funds probably wasn’t for me. The firefighter loved his job and always had a smile on his face when he shared his experiences on shift. He also talked about how he filled his life with all the time you’re allowed off shift and it made me realise I’d rather dedicate my time for much less money, for the pure enjoyment of life – you can’t put a price on that.

Every day on shift is different and when the tones go off it could signal the most insane day I’ve ever had”

In Canada, you need to complete a 1-year college programme before applying to any of the emergency services and my shift pattern allows me to be a teacher on that programme.  It’s a paid position and there are so many positives I’m able to share with students from my 9 years of service.  I’m careful, though, not to pass on too much of the negative aspects of what we see on the job.  It’s the same as when you’re talking to your parents about the call last night, you don’t give any of the gruesome details, you don’t want to inflict the emotional strain.

Every day on shift is different and when the tones go off it could signal the most insane day I’ve ever had. We’ve had ice storms, flooding and as a Heavy Rescue Squad it could be pretty much anything.  There are so many uplifting experiences in the job to keep us going, one that sticks in the memory is from Boxing Day when we were called to help deliver a baby.  We all have first-aid training and, as we can get to any address within 4 minutes, we’re often on hand before the paramedics.  In this case, the family was new to the country and couldn’t speak English, so I spoke to them in French and the baby was soon successfully delivered on the couch. 

Seeing someone arrive new into the world was an incredible experience.  The family wasn’t in a strong financial position so, after the shift, we got permission from our Chief and we dropped into Walmart and picked up some clothes, diapers and other things they may need and went to the hospital.  The Mother was asleep and the father on an errand, so we dropped the items off and left, we didn’t need praise or recognition, we got all our satisfaction from being able to help.

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Mykhail - Behind the Uniform
Mykhail Baehr inside workshop - Behind the Uniform
Mykhail in his workshop - Behind the Uniform
Mykhail from behind - Behind the Uniform

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