But only a few actually make it a reality.
"It's a great career," said Deputy Chief Larry Bell of the Abilene Fire Department. "I've been doing it for 30 years, wouldn't trade it for anything,"
The Abilene Fire Department is hiring at least a dozen firefighters over the next two weeks, to bring its staff back up to full capacity.
"This time of year, we generally have more firefighters retiring, in January and February, because it saves them money on their taxes," explained J. Sanders, the Public Education Officer for AFD.
Hopefuls have to already have their firefighter certification and EMT basic training before applying -- and even after that, the rigorous hiring process takes several months from start to finish.
"We really look out for one another, we take care of each other, and that's why we make it such an in-depth process," said Sanders. "Because they're not just getting a job, they're getting a family and we want to make sure that it is someone that's going to watch our backs."
But even that takes much more than just suiting up and running into burning buildings.
"I can remember back when I was a little kid, going to visit the fire station and it's something I thought about doing," said Logan Critz. "Grew up, still wanted to do it."
Critz is part of the rookie class of 2011, all of whom just became paramedics.
"About 80 percent of what we do is medical calls," Critz explained. "So when you see the fire engine out around town, we're probably going to be helping someone medically."
So while the dream when you're a kid might just be riding around in a big red truck and fighting fires, the real deal all comes down to saving lives.
For more information & requirements:
The deadline to apply is February 1st. All applications must be turned into the city of Abilene's Employment Information office on Walnut St. by that time.