People around the country took time to say ‘thank you’ to first responders Monday. It was National First Responders Day, and a chance to recognize the men and women who protect our communities.

Channel 3 spoke with first responders and got an inside look at a day in their lives.

At 6:45 in the morning, Chattanooga Fire Department Captain Chris Blazek arrives at Fire Station 6.

"That way at 7 o'clock, we're ready to roll,” he said.

From there, it's anyone's guess what will happen in the next 24 hours.

"In the back of your mind you're always anticipating getting up,” Blazek said. “When we sit down for dinner you're never sure if you're going to be able to finish dinner."

Uncertainty is in the job description for first responders, but there's one thing they know they'll do each and every day.

"It feels good to help people and reassure them when they're having the worst day ever,” said Sergeant Doug Evans, a paramedic with Hamilton County EMS. “It means a lot to be able to help people."

So often, they help those people on their darkest days.

"You see a lot of pain a lot of hurt, people that are in bad situations, injured, hurt,” Evans said.

Blazek says through those days, they try to find their own light in the darkness.

"You're going to have your bad days but I think the good days always outweigh those,” he said.

When the calls are done, and the shift is over, there's at least one thing he knows for sure.

"You're sitting there saying beyond a shadow of a doubt that I know I chose the right profession,” Blazek said.