In my opinion:
The reason that a first responder such as a police officer, fireman, or an EMT would be called a hero is not because they put on a uniform and go to work or volunteer their time everyday but because they have made a solemn promise to the public and to themselves that should there ever be an instance where they might have to put their lives on the line in order to save someone elses, they would do it - no second thoughts.
With someone like a first responder - it is possible that they really could go through their entire career and never see danger but they could also lose their lives tomorrow. They also give up holidays and family time for the safety of others. Yes, a policeman may never save a life directly, but indirectly - they save many just by being their... Maybe a hero is a strong word but being in a law enforcement family with a husband that has been in Egypt and Afghanistan, a brother that is in Afghanistan, a sister in law that has been to Iraq, an ex brother-in-law that died in Afghanistan, a Grandfather and Father in Law that fought in not only World War II, but in Korea an Uncle that fought in Vietnam, a nephew who is in Iraq, and a Father who earned his purple heart in Vietnam... I think it's ok to call them heros.
We sure didn't mind calling them hero's when they laid their lives down on 9/11. Maybe because that was right here in our own backyards....
"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy"