Twenty-Five Things the Thunderbirds Wish They Could Tell You

Be honest with us. If you have trouble getting around, or if you're injured, please tell us. It makes our job much easier when we have all the facts.

When we tell you to get out of a building right away, we're not kidding – you really don't have the time to stop and grab that photo of your Great Aunt Edna, your computer, or your wallet…and definitely not your seventy-two inch flatscreen TV.

Our official policy states that we don't rescue pets. But sometimes we ignore the rules and go in after them anyway.

By all means, introduce yourself, but don't expect us to remember your name. Oh, we try – we really do – but we work with dozens or hundreds of people every week, so don't be surprised to hear us address you as, "Hey, you – bathrobe guy!"

No, you may not take pictures inside the Thunderbirds. No matter how nicely you ask.

And, no, we really can't say where we're based, so don't bother asking. As Gordon likes to say, "It's so secret, even we have to put blindfolds on before we land."

Never believe anything Gordon tells you.

We may not have slept more than a few hours in the days prior to responding to your call, so sometimes we'll slip away during a rescue to catch a ten-minute nap. Trust us – we need it.

Never compare Thunderbird Two to a flying turtle if Virgil is anywhere within hearing distance.

Sometimes, on a lengthy rescue, we don't get a chance to eat for hours at a time – so if you see us sitting down for a minute to grab a snack, give us our moment. We're just refueling so we can help more people.

No, we can't give you our phone number. We'll take yours, though – hey, maybe someday our policies will change and we can ask you on a date.

We're not a taxi service. So don't ask us to bring you somewhere other than our chosen dropoff site.

If there's no one in your house, we may not risk our lives trying to put out a fire – especially because we're usually called to scenes where many people need our help. A building can be replaced. Human lives can't.

Don't ask what we're getting paid – we're not in this job for the money.

If we damage your house/car/whatever during a rescue, we'll say we're sorry, but we only kind of mean it – what we really care about is whether you're okay.

Yes, we do have six-packs. No, you may not see them. If you're cute and/or nice, we might flex our biceps a bit for you, though.

We may not know what's wrong with you. We all have EMT or paramedic certifications, but that doesn't make us doctors. We're good at keeping you stable until we can get you to the hospital; we leave the diagnosing to the doctors.

Please, please, please don't try to tell us how to use our own equipment.

We understand that you want to call your family to let them know you're okay, but please listen to us when we tell you to hang up. We're not trying to be mean – we just want you to pay attention to your surroundings for your own safety.

We really appreciate people who are able to smile even in tough situations.

But on the opposite end of the spectrum, if you're sad or angry, we do our best not to take it personally – we know everyone reacts differently to stress and injury.

When Gordon tells you a joke, change the subject quickly. Otherwise he'll never shut up.

We really do care about you, even if we seem brusque sometimes. This job takes an extreme emotional toll, so we can't wear our hearts on our sleeves, or we'd burn out in no time.

Our translation programs usually do a great job, but every once in a while, they struggle with a dialect. If you see us nodding and smiling a lot, we probably don't understand a word you're saying. Just follow us, and you'll be okay.

How can you become a Thunderbird someday? Well, right now we're not taking applicants, but it's always possible that that could change. Stay in shape, get your pilot's license and EMT certification, and keep a good sense of adventure. Do all that, and who knows? Maybe you'll join us in saving the world someday!