I found this Article and boy was i shocked to find out what im doing wrong and how much im a intrest group




Smoke and Mirrors
Stop calling firefighters "heroes."
By Douglas Gantenbein
Posted Friday, Oct. 31, 2003, at 3:05 PM ET

A cush job, most of the time
When California Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger toured the state's catastrophic wildfires a few days ago, he uttered the phrase that now accompanies any blaze as surely as smoke: "The firefighters are the true heroes."

It's understandable why he said that. As fires go, the California blazes are scary. They are moving incredibly quickly through dried brush and chaparral that practically explode when they ignite, threatening the life of any firefighter nearby. Steven L. Rucker, a 38-year-old firefighter and paramedic for the town of Novato, was killed working to save houses. Elsewhere, thousands of firefighters have worked for hours on end in 95-degree heat, dressed in multiple layers of fire-resistant clothing, sometimes without enough food or water because of the long and shifting supply lines.

Given all that, it may seem churlish to suggest that firefighters might not deserve the lofty pedestal we so insistently place them on. We lionize them, regard them as unsullied by base motivations, see them as paragons of manliness (and very tough womanliness). They're easily our most-admired public servants, and in the public's eye probably outrank just about anyone except the most highly publicized war veterans. But the "hero" label is tossed around a little too often when the subject is firefighting. Here's why:


Firefighting is a cushy job. Firefighters may have the best work schedule in the United States—24 hours on, 48 hours off. And those 24 hours are usually not terribly onerous. While a few big-city fire stations may have four, five, six calls, or more during a shift, most aren't nearly that busy, giving firefighters time to give tours to school kids, barbecue hamburgers, wash fire engines, sleep, and pose for "The Firefighters of [Your City Here], 2004" calendars. Indeed, fire officials devote much of their time to figuring out how to cover up the fact they're not getting the hoses out very often. So we have firefighters doing ambulance work, firefighters doing search-and-rescue work, anything but Job No. 1. Meanwhile, the long days off give many firefighters a chance to start second careers. That makes it easy for them to retire after 20 years, take a pension, and start another profession. I've known firefighters who moonlighted as builders, photographers, and attorneys.

Firefighting isn't that dangerous. Of course there are hazards, and about 100 firefighters die each year. But firefighting doesn't make the Department of Labor's 2002 list of the 10 most dangerous jobs in America. Loggers top that one, followed by commercial fishermen in the No. 2 spot, and general-aviation commercial pilots (crop dusters and the like) at No. 3. Firefighting trails truck-driving (No. 10) in its risks. Pizza delivery drivers (No. 5) have more dangerous jobs than firefighters, statistically speaking. And fatalities, when they occur in firefighting, often are due to heart attacks and other lack-of-fitness problems, not fire. In those cases where firefighters die in a blaze, it's almost always because of some unbelievable screw-up in the command chain. It's been well-documented, for instance, that lousy communication was a huge reason why so many firefighters still were in the burning World Trade Center when it imploded, and well after city police and port authority police had been warned by their own commanders of an imminent collapse and cleared out.

Firefighters are adrenalin junkies. I did mountain rescue work for several years and more than once was praised as a "hero." Oh, give me a break. It was fun and exciting. Firefighting is even more of a rush. Sharon Waxman, in an excellent article in the Washington Post, interviewed firefighters in California. Every one was in a complete lather to get to the next hot spot. "It's almost a slugfest to get in there," one told Waxman. This urge to reach the fire is not entirely altruistic. It sure beats washing that damned fire truck again, for one thing. Plus a big fire is thrilling, plain and simple.

Firefighters have excellent propaganda skills. Firefighters play the hero card to its limit. Any time a big-city firefighter is killed on duty, that city will all but shut down a few days later while thousands of firefighters line the streets for a procession. In July 2001, I witnessed the tasteless spectacle of Washington state firefighters staging a massive public display to "honor" four young people killed in a forest fire (one absurd touch: hook-and-ladder rigs extended to form a huge arch over the entrance to the funeral hall). For the families of the four dead firefighters—three of whom were teens trying to make a few bucks for college—the parade, the solemn speeches, and the quasi-military trappings all were agony. "It's just the firefighters doing their thing," one bystander said to me later with a shrug.

Firefighters are just another interest group. Firefighters use their heroic trappings to play special interest politics brilliantly. It is a heavily unionized occupation. Nothing's wrong with that, but let's not assume they're always acting in anything but their own best interests. In Seattle not long ago a squabble broke out between police and firefighters when both were called to the scene of a capsized dinghy in a lake. The firefighters put a diver in the water, a police officer on the scene ordered him out to make way for a police team, and all hell broke loose (yes, the cops were at fault, too). The dispute wasn't over public safety, it was over who got the glory. New York firefighters, admittedly deep in grief over lost co-workers, exacerbated the challenge of body recovery operations after 9/11 by insisting on elaborate removal procedures for each firefighter uncovered, an insult to others who died there. Not long before that, in Boston, a special commission released a scathing report that detailed a 1,600-member fire department up to its bunker gear in racism, sexism, and homophobia. Since then the department has bitterly resisted reform efforts.

None of this is meant to dispute that firefighters are valuable to the communities in which they work. They are. But our society is packed with unheralded heroes—small-town physicians, teachers in poverty-stricken neighborhoods, people who work in dirty, dangerous jobs like coal-mining to support a family. A firefighter plunging into a burning house to retrieve a frightened, smoke-blinded child is a hero. But let's save the encomiums for when they are truly deserved, not when they just show up to do their job.

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yeah i thought i added the tag
yeah i was in a hurry what made me come across thisis i have been following another topix column and i have been fighting with these guys that wants to eliminate our pensions in floridia and they say were overpaid and underworked and we dont do crap basically.check it out im mad as hell espicially page 24 and 34 http://www.topix.com/forum/city/blountstown-fl/TKV8TBOLL0PG2KEPQ
Well I always liked this
“Firemen are going to get killed. When they join the department they face that fact. When a man becomes a fireman his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. What he does after that is all in the line of work. They were not thinking of getting killed when they went where death lurked. They went there to put the fire out, and got killed. Firefighters do not regard themselves as heroes because they do what the business requires.”
Chief Edward Croker, FDNY

There are way too many guys around with Superman complexes
We are always Glorified trash collectors and scum of the earth till somebody needs rescuing or their house put out..
Being a Fireman is not heroic I guess. But pushing papers is I guess..

Let Me go ahead and get My autograph book lol
i agree somewhat with this article in one respect there are to many "heros" or people who think they are at least. and the reason why there arent as many firefighter deaths is because we try to be more carefull and not let our selves get killed "everyone goes home" the writer of this article needs to be a firefighter for a while volunteer or otherwise. volunteers are on call 24/7 and it is one of the most mentally and physically challenging jobs. but also the most rewarding. this guy needs to get all his facts straight before he ever writes anything again.
Brad thanks for that im amazed at your intelligenceand skills to put your thoughts down like that much respect to you brother. Also please go on the befoe mentioned Topix page and make these people understand we deserve our pensions and that we dont make 100,000 a year like they think they do.they belive if they cut our pay pensions and thier property tax and make us have 401k they will be more financially secure city. they dont understand that nothing is free you get what you pay for
Ah, Mr. Gantenbein surfaces again! I was just thinking of him a few days ago, although I don't recall why.

After that article came out in 2003 I emailed him with my objections, and to my surprise he replied. As I recall, a recent (at the time) firefighting event had gotten him stirred up. I want to say that the incident involved a house that was allowed to burn by the FD because the owner had not paid the subscription fee.

I also got the sense he was a wannabe at heart and had a bad case of sour grapes that day. Maybe he applied to get on the job somewhere and was turned down?

I do have the email somewhere in the archives and I'll dig it up to see what his response said exactly.
Another guy who couldn't pass the test I suppose. That's really sad. While I agree that the term hero is a little embarrassing; I even shy away from the thank you's we get the odd time because I don't know what to say. We're there because they need us, not because we happened to be walking by and noticed someone was in duress. I am paid to do this job, so he's right, hero is a little much.
BUT... cushy... I don't think so. Any comforts in our station were paid for by us, the couches were thrown out of someone's cottage, which means they were thrown out of someone's house before that. We bought the tv, we pay for the cable, the newspapers, meals, we buy our own food, we don't get scheduled breaks like ems and police. Sure we do tours, but during this time we are teaching kids about fire prevention, home safety plans, escape routes and meeting places, or educating the parents on the inadequacies of management and alerting them that 40% of the downtown workforce is detailed elsewhere because we are so short staffed. We clean the trucks, yes, this keeps them running better, we also do truck checks, brake checks, make sure the equipment is running well and up to snuff. We get to sleep sometimes... yupp, or 20 year old mattresses in a dorm with 8 other men, one inevitably snores... loudly... AND, if your home catches fire at 3am, do you want me to be up all night or would you like me to be rested?? Sometimes we don't get the choice, but when it's presented, we are smart to take it.

There are so many misconceptions about what this job is really about. Saying that the deaths are a result of command errors is sickening. A floor collapses while you're trying to get to the lady stuck in the back bedroom, is not a command error, it's an attempt to save a life. Having to jump from a 4th story window because the room flashed while you were doing a search is not a command error. Dying a slow and painful death from cancer due to the carcinogens you have inhaled, ingested or absorbed through your skin, even if you were always wearing your full PPE is not a command error.
Saying the job is not that dangerous is a HUGE misconception. Saying we get respect is a HUGE misconception. In my city we don't have a contract, we haven't seen a raise in almost 5 years, we haven't even been given a bone to chew, like a cost of living increase. We have to buy our own boots if we want something that fits well, we have to buy our own gloves if we want something that stays on our hands. We have to wait for a year or more for new gear when we are first on the job and wear the gear that someone else discarded when they got their new stuff.

There is so much more to this job than sleeping, eating, washing trucks and putting out the odd fire. We are medics, peacekeepers, teachers, negotiators, janitors, technicians, the list is endless. I've had conversations with young girls about their gang member boyfriends, I've comforted moms while treating their kids at the same time, I've cut young kids out of a car while the friend lays dead, I've witnessed what cancer does to a body in the matter of months. Sigh... what's the use of saying any of this right? If you don't do it, you don't get it.. and sadly some that do it, don't get it because they don't care.

It's not just a job.
It's not safe.
It's not a restful career.
You may not see retirement.
You may need that second job to pay the bills.
You may find yourself taking HIV or Hep C cocktails to save your life.
You may find yourself clinging to an IV.

Journalists who have nothing better to write about should not write about the fire service until they have done a week long ride along with a downtown crew. I have worked 86 hours since Friday morning, I'm exhausted and dehydrated, I've seen three fires, numerous alarm calls, many medicals, 4 mvc's one needing extrication and haven't slept more than 24 hours, all the while keeping up with workouts, family and oh yeah, I missed Christmas.

Rant over...
this is a reply to this guy in support i found more and more idiots how do these people sleep at night thinkin we are the enemy http://www.topix.com/forum/city/blountstown-fl/TKV8TBOLL0PG2KEPQ/p35

What I’m about to say is not directed at volunteer FFs. Volunteers do what they do out of the love for their community for very little pay. It’s directed mostly to South Florida FDs who staff FF/paramedics.

First off, you are certainly not heroes. You are trained and certified to perform a job of trying to save people and property. If you don’t do this job, then you should be fired. Any other employer would do the same.

In Miami-Dade County Fire, here are the stats,

75%- Medical Calls
22%- Other Calls (Canceled, False, Good Intent, Service, Hazard - 1.7 %)
3%- Fire Calls (Structure, Car, Brush, Rubbish) less than 1% are Structure Fires

Notice that 25% of the calls are non-medical; however, only 3% are fire calls with less than 1% are structure fires, and only 1.7% are Hazard calls. The rest are Canceled, False Alarms, Good Intent, or Service calls.

The South Florida FFs only fight structure fires 1% of the calls, so for you to focus on that as your main job is intellectually dishonest. Your main job is performing paramedic duties which are done by ambulance paramedics at 1/2 the cost without a pension. That’s what South FL FFs should be making around $40,000. However, the average South FL salary is $75,000 without OT and a paid pension of 75% at 20 years and almost 100% at 30 years with double salary for the last 5 years of the Drop Plan. So a South FF can retire at 40 years old with 75% of his salary or 50 years old for almost 100% of his salary. That is unrealistic and outrageous.

How many people make this kind of salary? Not many. Who makes this kind of salary? I would say educated professionals with doctorate degrees and difficult careers, most with student loans and no paid pensions who have to promote their own business. In fact, soldiers who are much more in danger, make much less.
As many of you have already stated....this reads as another guy who couldn't pass the test to get in to a fire dept somewhere. I don't view myself as a hero, I am just a man who sacrafices 24 hours of time to be with my two kids to go to work and do my job. As the article stated a man who works in a coal mine, but I respect anyone who goes out and does what they have to do to support their family. To me that is a hero.

As for the autor of the article...Jealously is a terrible thing.

As my trainign Captian told my rookie class we need to be careful how we act in public because #1 we don't want to make the entire dept look bad and #2 those people looking to get us in trouble with the white shirts are watching and they want our jobs.
i did bradd i put that i got it off the slate website as well as named it Firefighter nation ill try to make it more clear next time no disrespect to you brother trust me im taking no credit its beyond my skills on paper
i have too agree with you brad.this guy has too get his head out of his butt and come along for a trip in our profession .he must be a pencil pusher.i would love too have him down here for at least 5 days and see what we go thru. i deal with forest fires,house fire,mining accidents,mining explosions,mining roof cave -in's,motor vehicle accident's,emergency medical call's,hill slides,down tree's across the highway,powerlines down across the road or yards..... ECT.............. i cant list all of the stuff we handle.while he is in his cozy little office running his jaw we got our lives in god's hands..... we don't know if we are going too make it back home too our family or not ..... but he knows he is going too be going home too his wife and his kids and his mutt too....... i have a few qeustions too ask him .............Mr. Gantenbein, I’d be interested to know what you do for a living, Sir. I would like to know what office or title you hold that makes you feel like you understand the fire service or know what we do , because you are definitely not a firefighter. So what is it that you do that is so helpful to our community? I run into burning buildings; I jump into turned over vehicles; I restart hearts, I stop bleeding, I’m a firefighter and I make a difference, what do you do in life ? can you do what we do everyday of the week and do it 24/7 without thinking twice about it? would you put your life on the line for a stranger or too save there homes or family ? i know i will in a heart beat without thinking twice about it ............. all of us firefighter's and emergency medical services put our lives on the line too save people like you ........... ol i forgot you dont see it that way til you need our help.....



Lt. Michael A. Perkins
Infectionist Control Officer
Unit#37

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