This page is dedicated to the brave men and women who rush into burning buildings while everyone else is running out. 
Why make a page about firefighters on a writer's site?  Because, in the last year I needed their help twice and they were there. This is my way of saying thanks to them and to all firefighters. I would like to make this as befitting a tribute as possible, so I will gladly accept any contributions to this page. 
I live in Wausau, Wisconsin, USA, so a special THANK YOU to the Wausau Fire Department
Oh how things have changed through the years.
One of Wausau's oldest engines
Wausau's newest engine
Firefighters (historically, firemen) are rescuers extensively trained primarily to put out hazardous fires that threaten civilian populations and property, to rescue people from car incidents, collapsed and burning buildings and other such situations. The increasing complexity of modern industrialized life with an increase in the scale of hazards has created an increase in the skills needed in firefighting technology and a broadening of the firefighter-rescuer's remit. They sometimes provide emergency medical services. The fire service, or fire and rescue service also known in some countries as the fire brigade or fire department, are some of the emergency services.
Firefighting and firefighters have become ubiquitous around the world, wildland areas to urban areas, and on board ships.
According to Merriam Webster's Dictionary, the English word "firefighter" has been used since at least 1903.[1] In recent decades it has become the preferred term, replacing the older "fireman," since many women serve as firefighters, and also because the term "fireman" can have other meanings, including someone who sets or stokes fires - exactly the opposite of the firefighting role.

Wikipedia has this to say about firefighters
The Maltese Cross
When a courageous band of crusaders known as the Knights of St. John, fought the Saracens for possession of the holy land, they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors. It was a simple, but a horrible device of war, it wrought excruciating pain and agonizing death upon the brave fighters for the cross. The Saracen's weapon was, fire.
As the crusaders advanced on the walls of the city, they were struck by glass bombs containing naphtha. When they became saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens hurled a flaming torch into their midst. Hundreds of the knights were burned alive; others risked their lives to save their brothers-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths.
Thus, these men became our first firefighter and the first of a long list of courageous firefighters. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each here a badge of honor - a cross similar to the one firefighter's wear today. Since the Knights of St. John lived for close to four centuries on a little island in the Mediterranean Sea named Malta, the cross came to be known as the Maltese Cross.
The Maltese Cross is your symbol of protection. It means that the firefighter who wears this cross is willing to lay down his life for you just as the crusaders sacrificed their lives for their fellow man so many years 
History of the Maltese Cross
When I'm called to duty God
wherever flames may rage
give me strength to save a life
whatever be its age
Help me to embrace a little child
before it is too late
or save an older person from
the horror of that fate 
Enable me to be alert
to hear the weakest shout
and quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out 
I want to fill my calling and
to give the best in me
to guard my neighbor and
protect his property 
And if according to your will
I have to lose my life
bless with your protecting hand
my children and my wife.

Firefighter's prayer
Animated Candle
Animated Candle
Links to remember the fallen heroes
USFA Firefighters Memorial
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

 fire engine gallery
If you have a photo of an apparatus that you would like to add, please email it to me                                                                     THANK YOU
We must never forget 9/11
Thank you for visiting this page. Please stop back to see if anything new has been added. PLEASE send me anything you would like to contribute to making this a special page for the men and women who deserve it. THANK YOU
Show off your department's pride. Add a picture here
Retired / antique 
In Service
As you can see this is a special page, dedicated to very worthy people. Please stop back and check for updates. Tell your friends to visit the page, and if you are not a firefighter, take the time to thank a firefighter--they may just save your life someday.
We shed tears for having lost them, and give thanks for having known them
Links of interest to Firefighters, as submitted to this page by Firefighters
I was asked by a firefighter, why tell firefighters outside of my area about this page? Because, even though the Wausau FD helped me, ALL firefighters everywhere do the same thing. You all deserve to be thanked. ALL, EVERYWHERE, any country, any place. 
The Maltese cross is a symbol of protection and honor. It means the fire fighter who wears this cross is willing to lay their life down for you. Just as the crusaders sacrificed their lives for their fellowman so many years ago, the Maltese cross is a fire fighters badge of honor, symbolizing their courage to work just a step away from death.  Our fire fighters are proud to display this badge, and make a solid vow to protect and serve the community with all that they have.

Submitted by the Berthoud Fire Protection District, Berthoud, CO
What the eight points of the cross represent
#1) Gallantry    #2) Perseverance    #3) Loyalty    #4) Dexterity    #5) Explicitness    #6) Observation    #7) Tact    #8) Sympathy
During my visits to well over a thousand fire department websites I have come away with two words that are shared by every one of them. And so this page will begin with those two words.
And I would like to add these two words
PLEASE HELP ME---If you could send me anything to add to these pages it would be greatly appreciated. Pictures, safety tips, things about fallen firefighters, ANYTHING AT ALL. I am trying to make this a special place for firefighters. I want to make this a place where firefighters will feel something inside when they come here. I want it to be a meaningful place for the people who do so much for other people. I am just a writer, not a firefighter. Firefighters know what is important to them. Tell me so that I can put it on these pages. 
If you ever wondered what it's like to be a firefighter, this may help
Lost in the line of duty
Firefighter Rob Hess had this to say
What's important to firefighters
It's the Brotherhood, us firefighters live by a strict honor code and we live according to the brotherhood. The brotherhood is a very close knit family of firefighters from everywhere. What we do on a daily basis and the dangers we put ourselves in, no one can understand except a fellow brother firefighter. 
James Clements, FF/Paramedic, 
White Marsh Volunteer Fire Company, informed me that the following words are also used by firefighters.

Mesothelioma Guide