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.

TCSS.
Art

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Hi Chief....I have to agree with you to a point...yes we tend to linger on BS issues and let the big ones go by the way side...nature of the beast I assume....heck look at training.....everyone is gung-ho on controlled burns and RIT packs and the such....I agree they are vital to our services and to one-anothers life and safety....BUT...ask someone...anyone (yes even the old timers) where something is on the truck and you get a blank stare....God forbid ask them when THEY last started the saw or generator....Lets not forget the basics guys....very similar to EMS...."paramedics save lives.....EMT's save paramedics" The basics are all too important to not train on them as well as the advanced stuff......and one other thing......DAMN IT....USE YOUR SEAT BELTS...I don't want to be the one to scrape your sorry butt off the pavement....there...Now I feel better...stay safe...Paul
You know Art, I have been on the brink of writing this numerous times in the past 3 months, and each time I hesitated and then changed my mind. I agree with what you have said in this post. I have posted numerous safety topics only to have them buried by a largely already covered topic. It is frustrating when you are trying to gather information and yet most people assume the top 5 posts are the only ones. It is also increasingly frustrating that people just post (more times than not) out of the topic area designated for that type discussion.
Will it change, probally not. It seems people are too inexperienced in computers (and reading throughout a page) to go through and pick the correct forum type. We all have had a post or two that we have started that has been borderline at best to relating truely to the true fire service.
As for the Blogs, your right there to. I am a silent reader of most of the blogs that come on the main page, but I see a lot of these to be personal non fire service bitching grounds, and I am here for fire related stuff. (There are exceptions like when someone is trying to raise money for charity etc.)
Certain people here have a great following, and a lot of people don't. Sometimes it seems that someone can type about their hair woes of the day and get 30 comments, while others can type a great idea for the fire service and will get nothing. (selective reading apparently)
As for the photo's of some of the females in the fire service post, again I agree. I found it extremely funny that more than half of the men who commented that women had a place and deserved equality had a liking to seeking females to add to their friends lists and interact with. On more than one occasion I would go to the man's page (notice I leave out names) and their last 10 friends were females, and upon further digging into the comments the man was the one who was adding. If you want equality in the fire service first you have to get beyond the objects of your affection game.
The last thing I agree with Art is, damn I need coffee too.

Be well stay safe
Thanks, Paul:
Your reply proves my point.
I don't want us all to be drones or clones, but we sometimes miss opportunities to establish meaningful dialogue.
I get thesecretlist and I have been tempted from time to time to share, but I figure someone else will do it. I take for granted that many are subscribers, so I don't want to be redundant. But now I wonder: how many have taken the time to subscribe to what is a HOTLINE to recent critical fire service information? You know that bus accident in Minnesota that killed four on the school bus? Well, reports are coming out that the young lady that caused it is illegal in this country, no license, no insurance and FOUR DEAD.
It's depressing.
TCSS.
Art
Enco913:
I feel your pain.
I don't think it's any secret that this is an evolving website. Dave has at least been responsive to concerns about feature and functions. He might not be able to fix it right now, but at least he is telling us. I appreciate that.
And think about it; if we all had input into how this would work, we'd "customize" it to our tastes.
Friends. When I get a request to be added as a friend, I consider it an honor. I am hopeful that I am added, not for my drop dead good looks (insert snicker here), but because I have said something or written something that has touched them in some way. If you look at my "friends", you notice that many don't have a photo, so I'm not looking for "trophies". I am humbled by requests from men, women, young, veterans; I have a very diverse bunch.
When I write, I am not writing in the classis sense to an audience. I am writing to connect to that ONE person who reads what I write and says to their self "wow; that was powerful".
When I discuss, it is my intention to elicit a response. I don't like talking to a wall and I despise someone who starts a thread and then do NOT participate in follow up. It is as if they have anointed themselves as a quasi-spokesperson for us.
Let's see where this discussion goes. Hope it remains civil.
The coffee was excellent.
TCSS.
Art
Hi again Art....Hey, where's that coffee...?? LOL..We had training last night and only the "newbies" showed up...word was out that it was going to be a thorough walk through of the trucks....Meeting night should be interesting......This week we have a Firefighters Survival class starting and we have like 19 signed up....these clowns..(not all) can't find their ass from a LDH but they want to be heroes....God save us all.....Well enough for me I guess.....you can send that coffee my way.....have a good one.......Paul
Mud or something else?

I'll admit that the subjects you discussed have interest; it's like a wreck and you just can't force your head to turn away. Or is it?

Just as I say to myself when I'm the driver of my POV and I come up on a traffic accident where the brothers are working, I could look and gawk (like so many people do) or I can say, "Hey, I've seen this before, and maybe I need to focus on the bigger picture, like making sure I don't rear end the idiot gawking ahead of me".

Safety and other similar subjects aren't "sexy" enough I guess. But stirring up heated debate about sensitive subjects which have pretty obvious outcomes do. Let's say it and put it to rest:

1) Don't drink on the job.
2) Females have just as much a right to be in the fire service as the rest of us.

'Nuff said?
Hear hear... I propose a televised debate on both issues (drinking in the fire house and women in the fire house) and to declare a winner and then neither be brought to the surface again EVER. I think safety and training should have their own place on the main page. I think these folks... Tiger, FASNY etc... should be the fascilitators of the room with topics posted and debated at length. Without safety and training we most certainly lose the battle... and LIVES. My $.02... Mike
Not to go off subject Mike, but I have tallied your $.02 throughout your posts and should be up to about $1.88 or so.. Sorry lame attempt at a smile. Stay safe
More proof in the pudding for you. Start going through some of the members and see who has fire experience. I get a kick out of some of the people who join who have NO experience, NOT on ANY fire department/EMS provider, and are here for the 100% Social aspect of meeting a firefighter. Give me a break, try E-harmony already
Thanks for the kind words Art, but I echo the sentiment that you belong on the "must read" list of bloggers as much as anyone.

There are two topics in the fire service that I believe are the jumping -off point of most issues brought up on here...whether it's drinking in the firehouse, women in the fire service, what's in your bunkers, wearing your seatbelt, or any other topic that's been bandied about on here (with the exception of those posts by the "I just loooooove firefighters" gang) and that is;

Training and Professionalism.
The fire fighter and fire department which makes those two topics their top priorities has the right mindset and has already won half the battle.

There are thousands of thoughts and concepts in both categories and there's a place for all of them on here, but it's tiresome when the thoughtful discussions get mired in the mud pit of "I'm going to repeat exactly what you just said because while I don't have an original opinion on this; I just can't pass up the opportunity to see my pearls of wisdom in print".

There are two other areas that I think DESPERATELY need further discussion and thought generation, and they are;

Recruitment and Retention...

Because guess what, without those, you don't have anyone to train or to make sure are behaving professionally.

In that arena of discussion I defer to Tiger. He has more creative and orginal ideas on how best to lure a new generation of firefighters to the calling, and how to keep them involved and engaged than just about anyone I've listened to spout on the topic. I"m not stupid, I commandeered his participation as a regular monthly contributor to FASNY's "The Volunteer Firefighter" magazine.
www.fasny.com
Check out Tiger's blogs on Recruitment, check out Mick's blogs on leadership, read my ranting and raving about seatbelts and safety, and read Art's space for up-to-the-minute updates on current events and politics as they pertain to the fire service.
It's a better use of your time than reading 300 posts on the merits of yellow trucks vs. red trucks, or what the absolute best hairstyle is for under the helmet.
We HAVE had heated debates about wearing seat belts, and what type of response music gets our adrenaline REALLY pumping, dude. The fact that there are heated debates in the two discussions mentioned is testimony that we as a "firefighter nation" are not of a common mind on these issues.

Women as firefighters - I would bet my last nickel that there are STILL some male dinosaurs who think that a woman's place is in the home. I think that, if nothing else, this thread has at least attempted to educate them that there are many women capable of doing the job. And that are in fact DOING it, like Siren, Spanner and other posters. For those of us more "seasoned" FFs it seems like a no-brainer, while it's a brand new issue to others.

So some learning has taken place.

Drinking in the fire house? It’s obvious that many posters were shocked to find that this is even possible in 2008. People with 5 or 10 years of experience in a dry department probably never even realized that some fire houses still have open bars. Other posters have admitted that their departments still have good-ol' boy club mentalities. Still others have kept silent on the issue either because they are ashamed of their department’s activities, or maybe they're part of the boys' club.

But all who have read through the various posts in the have come away with a better understanding of how unacceptable drinking is today, and how so many departments have banished it from their premises. We now have an idea, however limited, of how many departments are dry, and how many need to get dry. And I think the seeds of change have been planted in the minds of the future leaders, and they will address these issues in the appropriate fashion if and when they need to.

As far as discussing safety issues, maybe it's time to start various threads on things like response safety, scene safety, and so on. In fact, I will do that since my task today was conducting training in these very topics.

NOW, having said all of that, I will echo Mick’s closing comments:
1) Don't drink on the job.
2) Females have just as much a right to be in the fire service as the rest of us.

'Nuff said.

(Damn it Art, where's that coffee?)
PS: Do you think it's time to close the "Drinking" discussion, or should we keep it open? Let me hear you.

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