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.

Views: 525

Replies are closed for this discussion.

Replies to This Discussion

People getting in late on this need to understand that you aren't dealing with Joe Q. Public on this Op-Ed piece by Doug Gantenbein. I interviewed Doug for my blog. The link was posted early on. Doug is an accomplished author, most notably Season of Fire. He is a former wildland firefighter. So, it's not like he shouldn't know the subject matter.
That said, I DON'T agree with him, but I will not dismiss him as just another jamoke with an opinion. Read his book, "Season of Fire" to get an understanding of why he holds the opinions that he does.
Basically, what he told me was that he was trying to stimulate some debate and got WAY MORE than he bargained for. I think at its peak after the article broke, he was receiving 200 emails an hour; mostly angry ones. To hear him describe it, it was really funny. Well, duh.
And I'm sure it didn't hurt his book sales.
Man, who did CPR on this dead horse? I thought we covered this already (a WHILE ago). That's okay, it never hurts to get in a few more observations on the subject. There were a few things I had to point out though: I think spanner didn't realize that the comment from chasefire on arguing for more pay was tongue-in-cheek. No harm, no foul, I guess.

Second, part of the reason why we end up with as little as we do in the fire service is because so few of our leaders are media savvy. Hell, like I mentioned in my blog from today, (insert shameless plug here) there are many of our "leaders" (and I use that term loosely) who can't form a thought in their heads alone, much less convey it to the public or the politicians and we wonder why we why we can't get support?

Show me a successful fire chief and I'll show you one who has perfected the marketing of his/her organization. And lest you think that's a bad thing, think "Phoenix". We (the fire service) will stop being the ones with the smallest grant allocations when we learn to educate people on our mission with passion.
First and foremost I do not do the job for the glory. Hero is a word used mostly with the words deceased and posthumous. Hero is also a word used for the military. There are people doing far more heroic things than me. I enjoy fire fighting. I do it as a volunteer. I hate my real job (with the exception of deployments) because of the politics associated with the military in this day and age. I swear our military leadership think they are freakin senators and representatives. I think the author of the article did not take into account that three-quarters of the fire fighters in the US are volunteers. And while some departments may have cushy hours, I have answered the pager at 0100 and got on a plane to Afghanistan at 0700. OK I am done complaining now... my $.02. Mike
Don't get me wrong, it's something I think about everyday, without even being told to!! We need a media rep like we need our bunker gear! What we don't need is being nominated for awards that are part of our job. I talk to people in the public all the time, with a child who is very active in sports and me as well, I get an opportunity to speak to a lot of people. Of course they question what they read in the papers. A few commented that they found it odd that a police officer be nominated for doing CPR, etc, etc... being in the paper is a blessing... now and then we actually get a half page article and now and then there's nothing (which is why we need a rep). If we were in the paper for every time we had large incident, it would be amazing, shows the public what they are paying for, and shows them what we can do for them.
I never once said media reps were bad, and in many posts I said we need one. What I find odd and misrepresentative is when these reps nominate their staff for awards... especially when they were not on scene and especially when those being nominated did not do what they were nominated for. Imagine that hits the paper... EMT nominated for award after acting as bystander... not really the press they need, right?

All hail the media rep, I wish we had one.. always have, always will.... but a good one, not one who gives false reports and makes the public wonder why we need awards for doing our job. Now, do you see what I'm saying???
I know that this poem was about the military, but it sort of sums up the disregard that some of the public, especially the media and politicians have for any personel of the military and emergency services,

Rudyard Kiplings, Tommy

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!
I love it when someone can utilize a classic to illustrate our current condition. It's funny how some perceive the current state of affairs to be an urgent, new issue, but trouble is that the same problems have plagued us over and over again for centuries, and in every culture and on every continent.

To be a public servant, military or civilian, is a truly thankless job. You really have to do it because you love your country and humankind, even if you wonder sometimes if they're worth saving.

But then reality kicks in and we do the job anyway. Great post, Huw.
Now here's a cool news story!!

A shocking coincidence; Orillia firefighter uses defibrillator to save same man's life twice in 10 years
Posted By Colin McKim
Posted 16 hours ago
It's a heart act to follow.

Ten years after firefighters jolted his heart back to life, an Orillia man was once again brought back from the dead by the quick use of a defibrillator.
Acting Captain Glenn Higgins, who responded with his fire crew to a local coffee shop where the man had collapsed and stopped breathing, thought the victim's name sounded familiar.
Ten years ago, Higgins administered the electric shock that saved the same man when he fell and went lifeless in front of a hardware store.
"It's a bizarre coincidence," Higgins said.
The 64-year-old man had no vital signs when firefighters arrived at the coffee shop.
While one firefighter compressed the man's chest, Higgins got ready to shoot a burst of electricity through the chest cavity using a defibrillator.
One quick jolt and the man's heart began beating again and he resumed breathing.
"It actually stops the heart and allows it to restart," Higgins explained. "It's like rebooting a computer."
Orillia fire Chief Trent Elyea said he's never heard of a person being save twice by emergency defibrillation.
Controversial when first introduced as part of firefighters' medical assist equipment a decade ago, defibrillators have proven their worth.
"The bottom line is - when we got there, he was dead; when we left, he was breathing."
In 10 years Orillia firefighters have saved one to two people every year whose hearts had stopped, said Elyea.
The first defibrillator hadn't been on the truck even 24 hours when the equipment was used to revive an 18-year-old who collapsed in shock after rushing out of a burning apartment.
"She was literally scared to death," said Elyea.
The fire department now has three defibrillators. The city has installed units at both arenas and in the lobby at city hall.
The equipment is easy to operate, said Elyea. Programmed to deliver the electrical jolt at the opportune time, it detects electrical activity in the heart and won't deliver a shock unless the heart has stopped.
When firefighters began attending medical calls, there was some opposition from people thinking this service should be the sole preserve of paramedics.
But because the fire hall is central, crews can be at many scenes well before the ambulance and begin treating patients promptly when a quick response is critical.
"The system is working really well," said Elyea.
The man who was revived earlier this week is recovering at a hospital in Newmarket, said Elyea: "He's doing fine."
Hear, hear!
Luckily, people who think like this are not in the majority. It makes me laugh when someone states some of the stuff he did in his writing. He seemed to me to have his HUA.

I agree, a wannabee. That was my impression, a guy who wanted to be a Fireman so bad, but just didn't test well and couldn't get hired. Or maybe he thought it was easier than it was to get hired somewhere and just gave up due to lack of committment.. Turned into a bitter person who now takes any opportunity to denigrate the Fire Service.

While I don't consider what we do as Heroic on most occasions, there truly are Heroes in the Fire Service.
Hmmm. Cushy job huh? Whatever. I agree we aren't heroes. We are just doing our jobs. We don't have to do this. We can quit at anytime. But I cant quit and I wont quit. I do it to help people, and not just anyone can do our jobs. I am on call 24/7. Doesn't matter if it is the middle of the night, Christmas Day, my kids birthday, whatever. I have to go...................... Yes it is an adrenaline rush, but that isn't enough to keep people in this field. All I can say to people with views like his is come fight fires (or run rescue calls) with us for a week. Then we will talk. Otherwise shut up cause you don't have a clue.
if we are not considered heros to people but childeren then what are we anonymous people but i say we are because we are doing this as bravery not because we what to chance it of getting killed we do this because we like to help people cops are heros military are heros here other countrys yea we may sit around but when the job is needed then we get it done i mean correct me if im wrong but we got hit by three tornadoes last year and i dont knw how many times ive worn my fire shirt with our county name on it and people stop me in wal mart to thank me and my friends for helping that paticular community i just tell them your welkome they say your my hero i just say we do our job just like everyone else everyone is a hero in there on way


FireRescue Magazine

Find Members Fast

Or Name, Dept, Keyword
Invite Your Friends
Not a Member? Join Now

© 2020   Created by Firefighter Nation WebChief.   Powered by

Badges  |  Contact Firefighter Nation  |  Terms of Service