As of this writing, "Drinking in the Fire House" has 287 replies.

"Women in the Fire Service" has 263 replies.

At times, both have become heated, has been argued with passion and are issues that keep coming up over and over again. And nothing NEW is ever said. It's the same thing, just SAID by somebody different.

Are they issues that are important in the larger scheme? In some parts of the country and in some fire departments; yeah, it's still an important issue, because THEY have resisted efforts to establish a national initiative to improve them.

Have you noticed that both topics that I highlight have certain "social" implications?

Drinking is definitely "social" and women in the fire service? Well, we have already seen men fighting over some of them right here on this website. So, there is a social aspect to that as well and if one has the time to check out some of the submitted photos, you will see some social cleavage by those screaming that they wanted to be treated the same as men. I am still looking for a tasteful photo of my upper body to post.

However; I digress. The reason for this post is very simple: we have engaged in endless debate on two issues that are important, but not where the percentage of injuries and death are occurring. When efforts to discuss firefighter safety or scene safety or improving requirements or reducing civilian fire deaths, the discussion thread is lucky to get 10 replies before you hear the crickets.

Why do we-myself included-spend so much time on issues with little national impact and ignore those things that impact us on a daily basis?

I like to have fun and will post a "funny" from time to time, but if we ever expect to change and improve our fire service, we have to engage our brains. We have to think. We have to act.

There are some great blogs being written on a wealth of topics that could help anyone of you, but I have to wonder how many of you read the blogs. From Tiger, FASNY, Mick and Pete; I spend alot of time reading their stuff because it's FREE and it's INVALUABLE.

You could end discussions before they start, if you'd read their blogs. The topic has already been covered by them.

I just think that our priorities are all screwed up. We bitch about how precious our free time is, yet, we are forced to wade through a bunch of mud just to find a little nugget of wisdom.

I need coffee.


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I don’t know folks. I think it’s the new math…Social Networking. Sure it could be a free for all, but using it to expand, empower and promote the fire service that could be is an important integral part of the site. The users are just looking for easy.

Why do I feel that I have to include a picture at the start of all my stuff? Is it worth a thousand words or is it a blatant attempt to entice a reader to CLICK ME? Is a joke a writing device to drive home a point or a subtle way to try and encourage the reader to continue looking for the next joke? It’s a hook.

Why does a class on firefighter basic review get cancelled every time we try and teach it but the exact same classes with the new moniker of cut, rip and pry fill up? It’s packaging.

I can’t even begin to address the drinking or not drinking. My mom was killed 2-24-1992, by a guy just driving home from a bar. I have an idea that you know where my allegiances lie. Do I think that learning is taking place? Unfortunately I think that the give and take are from well-protected positions and neither side can effectively persuade the other to address the realities we complain about every day.

I can teach, with humor. I can write with aplomb. I can quote statistics. I can do as I say. But unless I get there early in a career I can’t form a safe firefighter. It’s all about environment. But IF we are the environment then maybe, just maybe they have to listen because they are caught up in it.

The next time you’re at the firehouse having a drink, not using your seatbelt, or tempting fate with a thousand other equally risky behaviors think what are we here for? We don’t train, we don’t practice physical fitness, we don’t think that it will happen to us, and we don’t seriously pursue knowledge that is offered free and is easily available. I’m getting depressed writing this but I needed a break getting ready to teach my next class to firefighters (50% women at an alcohol free firehouse). What would my mom say? Keep trying some one is bound to listen.
Holy Crap -

Someone admitted to reading one of my blogs. I gotta write this down.

Sounds like a great topic for a discussion thread: "The day someone read one of Tiger's Blogs."

Who needs that safety crap anyways? Self-actualization is all I need.

Sorry to interrupt.

As you were...

It's been half a day since I first read your discussion intro here and I still don't understand fully what your beef is.

The name of the site is "Firefighter The Social Network JUST for Firefighters, EMS & Rescue."
The Forums section is divided into 12 general areas of discussion, including both technical areas (General Firefighting & Rescue Discussion, Fireground Tactics & Firefighter Safety, and Fire & Rescue Training) as well as "social topics" (The Fire's out - non duty forums, Firefighter Nation Kitchen - meet and greet, and Trading Posts: patches, tees & more). There are also forums for EMS, Juniors and Explorers and one for remembering our fallen and injured brethren.

With all of those areas designed into the website, why shouldn't this be a "social Website?" That is the stated purpose of this site.

While Knowing how to do our job and do it safely are the two of the most important aspects of being Firefighters, they are not all that make us what we are. So I am really puzzled at why you would think there is something wrong with there being a "social" aspect to a "social networking" website.

As the ancient proverb says, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." I think is it unwise to assume that just because someone participates in a discussion about hair, or music, or some other topic one may find frivolous, that they don't also read the blogs and learn more about their trade.

From re-reading your statement, I get the impression that you feel this webiste should be focused, at least more tightly if not entirely, on Firefighter safety. I don't think that has ever been the mission statement for this website, and I believe that as human beings who are members of a community we want more here than another Firefighter Close Calls. I think Firefighter Close Calls and TheSecretList are excellent FF SAfety resources; this site fills another need within the Firefighter community.

What I think may be an issue at work here is people posting discussion in the wrong forum section, like a discussion about chili recipes in the General Firefighting discussion area?

Or maybe I'm just as dense as smoke from a tire fire...

G Man:
Read Lupkowski's reply.
He said it better than I did.
Firefighter safety is most important. There are many websites devoted to it. All firefighter websites should devote SOMETHING to it.
I didn't think that it was that confusing about the original post for discussion.
Simply look at the thread topics, the number of replies and the rest speaks for itself.
Look at profile photos and that pretty much opens the door.
I have no problems with discussing a wide variety of subjects, but that is the point. Often times, it isn't a discussion. Someone dive bombs in, spews and leaves. They "Comment"; they don't "Discuss", because from discussion comes knowledge; something we can learn.
I have no beef.
Actually, Chief, I think he is saying something different than you did in your original post. Maybe it's what you meant to say, but it's not the same.

You're right, EVERY firefighter website should devote an area to safety. There's no discussion about that, you and I agree 100% on that.

What I don't understand is your objection to the "Social" part of the website. That's why it exists. Talking "shop" and discussing important topics is a large part of our social community, and most of us easily recognize how important it is. Fireground Tactics and firefighter Safety is not going away anytime soon.

So Safety is here, well represented by yourself, Tiger Schmittendorf, FASNY Training, Sean Crotty and others. Your post implies that Firefighter safety should be the only discussion on this site. In it you complain about two threads in particular: "Drinking in the Fire House" and "Women in the Fire Service." "Drinking" occurs in the forum area Fire's out - Non Duty Forums, and "Women" occurs in General Firefighting and Rescue Forums; neither discussions takes place the area set-aside for Safety discussions. If these threads were in Fireground Tactics & Firefighter Safety, then your complaint, "we have engaged in endless debate on two issues that are important, but not where the percentage of injuries and death are occurring," would be justified and I would whole-heartedly concur with you that those threads were misplaced.

But these discussions took place in appropriate forums and those who were interested took part in them, and apparently so did some who weren't interested. The fact is that there is something for everyone here, and with over 13,000 members now, not everyone is going to have the same priorities as you. Safety should be everyone's priority on the job, but off duty everyone will gravitate to something different based on their beliefs, perspective and experience. If firefighters are sitting around using Firefighter Nation while on-duty then they are wasting taxpayers’ and their department's, time and resources. I presume that most FFN Members use this site in their off-duty, or authorized down-time. It's their choice how to use it!

I believe the true beauty of FFN, and the reason it has such a large membership is the fact that it is a "Social Website" and not strictly a work-related site. If anything that means a larger audience for Safety discussions and messages. How many members does Firefighter Close Calls have? 13,000? 10,000 even? How many Rookies, probies, volunteers, twenty-somethings belong to Firefighter close calls? I have a strong hunch that most regular readers of FF Close Calls are Fire officers, Training Officers, Veteran FFs, and other "seasoned" firefighters. More younger FFs are tuned into this website than many that focus exclusively on Firefighter Safety, and they get the Safety Message here. It comes at them in some unexpected places.

Here's an example. Remember Wes from Kentucky? He asked what everyone's favorite music to listen to while responding to calls was. Over the course of a couple of weeks, many of us basically stated, and restated why this was a dumb idea. One young FF, not only thought it was okay, but said she listened to her iPod while making a fire attack. Those two young Firefighters found out quickly that most of the Firefighting community thought their habits were "Unsafe and Insane!" I'm willing to bet neither of them would belong to this website if it solely about Firefighter Safety.

Every time I send a message to another FF on here I tell them to be safe, make smart decisions and wear their seatbelts. Granted I don't exchange many messages, but so far I've been able to pass on my message of Safety to a few firefighters whom I would never have conversed with if not for this Social Website.

Yes, some of the photos on here are distasteful to some members, but they are exercising their freedom of expression within the Terms of Service.
Again, it's off-duty interaction with those fellow firefighters who wish to interact with them. Expressing one's self is as American as The Volunteer Firefighter.

Some members have groups on here to discuss their love of motorcycling. What does motorcycling have to do with Line of Duty Safety? Safety is Safety to a certain degree, but talking about what bikes we ride, or where we ride has NOTHING to do with firefighting. Talking about coffee has nothing to do with firefighting, in fact the dehydrating effects of caffeine play a role in many cardiac arrests. How many of our brothers have died because they drank a several cups of coffee in the morning and went into cardiac arrest on the way back to the house after a fire call? I'm a HUGE fan of coffee, you've seen my "coffee house in the firehouse" idea, but on-duty firefighters should limit their caffeine consumption, especially those over 35 years of age.

So, to sum up this admittedly lengthy reply: Firefighter Nation is like a convention hall. One section is devoted to Safety, one section is devoted to personal photos, some people are flirting over by the wall, and some are talking about motorcycles by the stage. Some are discussing how to secure their hair while masking -up, and some are trying on new bunker gear, helmets and boots, some are even trading their favorite songs. You're free to stay in the Safety-only area, but if you want to inculcate every firefighter with the Safety message you have to participate in a number of groups and activities and spread the word around. It's so much easier in one place, like FFN, then it is going to every firehouse in every town personally, isn't it?
I see and understand both sides of this argument. In less than a year that I have been a member of this net, I have seen this same discussion brought up, (and beat to death) 4 times. The results are always the same. Yes there are posts, blogs, and forums which I personally feel are childish, in bad taste, and or sometimes inappropriate. But as bad as this is, I still believe in the right for people to speak their peace, to agree to disagree. That being said, I have notices sent to my email which tells me every time starts a discussion, or replies to a discussion. Yes, it takes me a little longer to read my email, but I check what the topic is about, and if it is something that I personally am not interested in, I hit the delete button. If it is a topic which I may have interest in, I click the link to read it. All of us joined this net for their own reasons, including bitiching and flirting, and we are good at both. I have no problem in watching videos of reading smoke, or building construction, but I still occasionally like to sit down with Mother Juggs and Speed or Emergency.

I'll go back to my 3rd pot of coffee and shut up.
I was not "complaining" about where those topics were discussed. People are all over the place as to where they post their thread. I have never been too concerned about that. You have me confused with someone else on that issue. Perhaps, FireSiren. And I would agree with her on that issue anyway.
I fully understand the implications of "social".
What I was "complaining" about was how too much time is spent on the "social" and not enough on the "firefighter" part of this website.
No; I don't think it should be devoted strictly to safety. If you have read my blogs, they are diverse in their topics. Jake and Vinnie is for entertainment and learning.
I have read my original post again and again. I will do a better job of articulating my position next time.
If you haven't noticed, there are many who agree. There are many opinions. There are descriptions of what this website means to others. I stated what I felt. But, I will ask Dave what his intended mission was when he founded FireFighter Nation. If he wanted only cleavage, dirty jokes, poem after poem of fire/EMS is, funny videos and singles looking for companionship, then I am definitely mucking it up with my stuff.
Like I made clear, it is sad when we use this tool to discuss booze and gender to the Nth degree and can't discuss wearing seatbelts past 10 replies. But, I'll bet if we had video showing someone getting hurled through space, it would get 10,000 hits.
Priorities was the other issue of my post.
Juggs was better in One Million Years, BC as a cave woman.
Like I said I see both sides of the argument. I'm not sure this will work, but I'll try anyway. While it's not a firefighter, it might prove your point.
oh amen to that....I buy them by the gross at BJ's. Makes my work travels pass by in a blink.

I may very well have misread your original post, and if I'm making counter-points against things you didn't say, then I sincerely apologize.

I do stand my one point though. Just because people spend time discussing trivial issues, does not precluded us from also discuss important issues. There is room for the dichotomy.

That said, we're now the 8th page of this thread and I think we've each made our points? :-)

Stay safe; drink water with that coffee and always your PPE on that nice bike.


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