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Ever want to know what the world of a firefighter or a first responder is really like? I am a retired firefighter/paramedic with 25 years of rushing to fix someone’s worst nightmare and not getting any sleep. From 19 years old, while my brain was still wiring itself, I subjected it to blow after blow. My brain made a box and every horrible call would go into the box and the lid shut tight. Then in the middle of the night after a fatal fire, the box became full and the lid would not shut. The pressure inside the box blew the 25-year-old all over the place. After the PTSD diagnosis, I fought and scraped and crawled to clean up the mess and here I am, happier than I’ve ever been in my life and still learning so much cool shit about myself and the world I connect with. Some funny shit happens along the way.

Plus, my best pal Harriet has quite a bit of funny shit to say, which I will share. *Harriet is my totally untrained 5-year-old English Cream Gold Retriever

So ride with me on my fire engine, in my 4Runner, and walk with me as I navigate life after having to take my superwoman cape off and become a regular person whose only skills don’t transfer to everyday life. I’d take running into a building on fire over trying to fill out an Excel spreadsheet any day of the week. Since I cannot run into burning buildings I’ve had to figure out other ways to fill my cup. Writing on Substack is one of them.

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A dive into the heart and brain of a firefighter. Tears, fuck ya's, and laughs layered in observation and insight. You are not alone.


Christy Warren is a retired fire captain from the Berkeley Fire Department. She has 25 years of service as a professional firefighter/paramedic. Since retiring due to PTSD in 2015, she has been on a mission to let everyone know, they aren't alone.