Is it just me or has the commitment of the younger firefighters these days just gone to pot? Now don't get me wrong there are some young guys and gals out there that still go get it but they are a shrinking breed. Out of 20+ applicants to take our last agility test only 5-6 passed the rest just quit because they were tired out. We have a working fire at my volley station and 1 cylinder of air and they are laid out in the yard wipped out and the house is still burning, and one last thing is this, it's all about "me" thing, only looking out for myself instead of whats best for the crew or the dept.

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Some folks on this forum have said that people coming into this job are lazy, I was merely poining out that laziness is not confined to the fresh fish, it can be found everywhere. I have seen departments where the probies mop scrub and cook while the old timers sit on their asses a in front of Springer waiting for the tones to sound. Probies were expected to be on their feet except at meals and while sleeping, while the rest of the "team" was farting around and playing mindless pranks on the probies, who still had to clean the mess. These old timers call themselves the "Real Firefighters", and denigrate anyone who hasn't got as many years on as they do. But years on the force doesn't make one a real firefighter any more than extra grape jelly makes a better pizza!

I couldn't agree more about the issues of health and nutrition being of prime concern. Our grandparents did have better nutrition, and physical condition, yet in most cases they still lives shorter lives. Is one better than the other, I don't know. But I do know that processed foods and High fructose corn syrup are NOT doing our firefighters any favors!

The ultimate answer to the original question is that real firefighters defy one single definition, and to try to create one in this forum isn't going to help us address the issues of why firefighters are collapsing on duty. Real firefighters are everywhere, doing the job the best they can. They are in varying degrees of physical shape and different ages, but generally the level of dedication to the job is high, and they are willing to take themselves to the wall no matter what their condition.
There have been some very good points made in this discussion.
Several concerns have been voiced.
Some have said things that have been said before.
This discussion is just another example of the many, many issues that threatens to paralyze the volunteer fire service.
FETC: I hear you loud and clear on your perceptions of today’s youth, but they are atypical and not typical. Let’s face it; those attributes that you lend to them will not fit well in the fire service and if they are accurate depictions? Well, then, we won’t have to worry about them signing up.
Early on, I learned the importance of diet and exercise in order to compete in athletics.
Then, during my middle years, I lost sight of its importance.
Once again, I have re-discovered the importance of diet and exercise as I move towards my “twi-light” years.
I refuse to broad brush all of the younger generation as lazy and out of shape. The ones that we are seeing in the fire service grew up dreaming the same dreams as us and they know better than anyone else the importance of maintaining a ready state of physical and mental preparedness.
If anything, there is resentment from the “veterans”, because they are willing to work hard at the gym and at the fire station so they can produce when it is needed most. They tend to “slack” on those tasks that are tedious and fail to challenge them mentally or physically. They resent being told to do a task and then are micro-managed while they do them. They simply want to be told what to do and be left to do it.
I have no doubt that the future of the fire service is in solid hands.
Now; let’s talk about the here and now. I have written about the de-conditioning that we have seen in members of the fire service, but I did not restrict my comments to just the younger ones. It is everywhere. I see a higher degree of borderline obesity, obesity and morbid obesity in ages 30 and up. We are seeing very few cardiac deaths in the 20 somethings, aren’t we? But they are the ones that we are worried about, right?
If we were serious about getting a handle on the poor life habits, imagine how narrow the profile would be for our new members. I would sooner consider a 23 year old who is 50 pounds overweight than a 40 year old in the same shape. Why? Because the 23 year old will quickly realize that they must get into much better shape if they want to do high angle rescue, trench or hazmat. The 40 year old will most likely quit, because they don’t want to invest the time or the work into dropping the 50 pounds.
But it’s not just the weight that has to change. It’s an entire life-style.
I dropped 90 pounds two years ago and have kept it off. I am 55 years old. I am no longer active on the fire department, but I feel that I am in better shape that half of our current department.
In order to get into the best shape of my adult life, I had to sacrifice. What did I sacrifice? Foods that I grew up on; eating habits that were 50 years in the making. I had to completely re-tool my entire line of thinking on food choices. I had to give up foods that I literally loved. However; I no longer miss them. But, to give you an idea of what I gave up; think about a meal without potatoes, white bread, pastas, sugar, foods rich in carbohydrates, saturated fats, butter, gravy, anything fried, whole milk and on and on. No more Twinkies, Ho Hos, fruit pies, Little Debbies, chips, honey, pretzels, candy bars, chocolate.
Are any of you crying yet? You ask; what’s left? The answer is “lots”.
I just bought a new exercise bike-a Lamar. It is sweet. I force myself to ride it 6 nights a week. On some nights, I have to literally force myself. I do it when I don’t want to do it. I do it because I think that, if I don’t, I will stop doing it. So, I push myself to do it.
I was 260 pounds on December 26, 2006. Now, I weigh 170 pounds. My pulse is 54. Blood pressure is 116/78. My doctor considers me “very low risk” for heart disease. Yet, I could die tomorrow, I guess.
But at least, my wife will be able to buy a casket off the rack.
Everyone who has replied to this thread have their own depiction of a “real firefighter”.
I/we have to believe that they are re-emerging.
In the meantime, we have to convince those who will look up to us and listen to us that it is still important to train like you fight and fight like you train.
Otherwise, we have all seem what happens when “fat” drips on the fire!
TCSS.
Art
Wow thats really sad. In NJ where im from I dont really see that problem.I guess the people you do have train atleast 2 times a week mabey get a gym in the firehouse and let people use it when they want.I can go thru a few bottles of air before taking a break.Remeber 2 in 2 out. What state are you from?
I guess you missed the (young or old part) or (regardless of age) parts for dehydrated, overfed and undernourished leading to cardiac arrest. I never came out and said kids are lazy, we all are products of the culture, which now has more to do with unhealthy firefighters than the days in the past where kids would play outside all day, no a/c, be used to the heat, and not stay inside and play video games all day. That culture has made many want to work in the elements that are comfortable and when the pager goes off, what are they subjected to...

I'm glad to see you had a major change in your lifestyle to become healthy, the culmination of the culture, foods, activity or lack of, stress and being acclimated to the environment, (heat) is a major factor in the world. It effects every fire department in the US. People regardless of age are living - working in those pre-disposing elements.
come on guys, i happen to be on of the younger generation and i have busted my butt to get where i am. Im 20 yrs old and i have a full time job working for the City of Lenoir NC, which is a very hard department to get on. We train and train and train and when we get tired we do a little more. Ive been on fires where i come out get a splash of water, someone changes the pack on my back for me and i get at it again. We are a very aggressive fire department and thats how we do it. I think that some of these comments ,ay be comin from ff's who are maybe a little scared of change and others filling there shoes. You cant forget that you all used to be in the same boat that we are in whether you wont to remember it or not. I can agree with some people being the way you guys are talking about but you def cant keep stereotyping all of us like you have been.

Everybody be safe out there!
There is a ray of hope here though. For those who love their chocolate, switch to dark and you will do youself a favor. 75% Cocoa content or more. Why? The anti-oxidants in chocolate actually promote heart health, and the consumption of chocolate triggers the release of endorphins that actualy occupy the same receptor sites in the brain as opiates and THC.

http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20030827/dark-chocolate-is-healthy-c...

While this is not a license to go gobbling up all the dark chocolate you can get your hands on, it is a good reason to keep eating a little on a daily basis.

For you milk drinkers out there, be aware that skim milk is actually higher in relative carbohydrates than whole milk, but only by one gram per serving. Milk is much misunderstood in several regards. Whole milk contains 3.7% fat, which means that it is almost 97% fat free. Most of us eat more fat in a hamburger! There is really not that much fat in milk, and it is only a result of our incredibly high fat diet that we have even thought about skimming our milk. Instead of cutting out the whole milk, ditch the fries, the well marbled steak, the high fructose corn syrup, the sodas, the list goes on.

Lastly, sodas are just poison in any form. Carbonic acid has been cited as a primary cause of osteoporosis, as it leaches calcium out of the bones. High fructose corn syrup has been linked to a number of diseases, diabetes, heart disease, dental and periodontal problems, the list goes on. Diet sodas, worse. Aspartame, and phenylalanine, have both been linked to various forms of cancer, migraines, seizures, parkinson's and many more. It is converted by our bodies into formaldehyde, and is a confirmed excitotoxin.

http://www.organicconsumers.org/foodsafety/aspartame071905.cfm
http://www.lovethetruth.com/truth_about_aspartame.htm
http://www.aspartamekills.com/

Splenda? Most people think it is great, but it is a brain tumor laying in wait. Splenda is really just sugar to which a Chlorine molecule has been added. For you Hazmat guys out there, this is a chlorocarbon. This chlorocarbon is in the same chemical family as DDT. Put some in my coffee!!

Recent research suggests that certain organs absorb and are unable to release these toxins, such as the hypothalamus and the prostate. Sound familiar boys?

http://www.rense.com/general65/splend.htm
http://www.alkalizeforhealth.net/Lsweetdebate2.htm

As responders, we know about hazmat. We see the placards, the labels and the NFPA postings, and we work hard to keep ourselves isolated from these hazards, yet we routinely consume known toxins in our daily diet. Art has hit one out of the park with this last post. He is reading labels and changing his lifestyle.
Everyone should concentrate on being not over weight and keeping our Blood pressure in the normal range 120-80 because all these stop your chlorestorial going up blocking your arteries and preventing diabetes. So everyone think twice about over eating because it will keep you alot healthier.Hughie 57 House Westmoreland,PA Just a Brother that cares....
Brothers whether you are a mature firefighter or not lets not be that immature to forget that we all get older and some day that will be us that you are referring to as Ward Clever and the way things are going in the Fire Service its much wiser to be open minded because when an alarm comes in especially during the daytime and you arrive and have a working fire and you wonder where everyone is at and you happen to be the only one at the station you may be very happy to have Ward Clever and Lumpy and the Beaver to help you have a full crew . Remember we are all Brothers and we all get older lets not forget that could be us some day and always respect our Brothers&Sisters. I respect the Brothers with wisdom and I watch the ones that can talk up a good story because they are the ones that need to attend training classes remember we must all look out for the safety of one another and we are a Big Family so we always must know our job to the best of our abilities. God Bless You Brothers.Hughie 57 House
I find from having thirty years in the service that some firefighters are burnt out and some lose interest and some get turned off from the young guys and I find in the Commonwealth of PA going around talking to different firefighters across the state that they get frustrated from having the state put all kind of regulations in order to be a firefighter and especially in the Commonwealth of PA You don't get paid and you sacrifise your life and it seems like it is rarely appreciated and I hear other guys say how Proud they are but after 25-30 years in the service it gets moldy because you start to wise up and think to yourselves why is the Police and the EMS and the 911 Dispatchers all paid but yet the Commonwealth can't pay the Firefighters when they are the first to be called out for a structure fire or haz mat call or rescue call or foam call or ropelling call on a ditch cave in emergency or even getting a crazy cat out of the tree. After all they make all this tax revenue off of the firefighters but yet they can't have the common sense to keep their men and women in there own state pay them. Its a pet peeve of mind. I hope some day the politicians will wakeup and take care of their firefighters.
Only in The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Maybe someday we will be a vital part of the Commonwealth and taken serious.

Some people are beyond help sadly... This post is a double edged sword though.

What do we consider treacherous? The current (soft) generation, still new and green? or the Senior (Real) Firefighter, complacent and already shedding negativity toward the oncoming generation?

It's almost sad that those who have responded to the question in general talk about singular and personal self worth rather than exchanging ways to affect such change.

I'm proud of one girl in particular in my department, who weighed at least 230lbs at 5'5", no reliable transport to speak of and paid for her entire Firefighter 1/2 course and testing on her own, passed and is indeed a very solid firefighter.  I feel privileged to have been able to mentor and teach her how to be a "Real" firefighter and strongly believe she'll do the same when the generation beneath her has come to replace her.

Inversely, I know of a recruit firefighter and brand new EMT who decided to be the type of guy that needs to have lights on his truck and a million "I'm a firefighter" shirt's, and a tattoo for his love of the service on his back. 3 weeks into being accepted into our recruit program he was stripped of any title he had for D.V. and trying to kill himself. The surrounding districts won't except recruitment for him.

I hate the mindset of the brand new recruit who doesn't have the longevity but an overabundance of pride, but with the right leadership skills you can change that for the better.

Not everyone can be a leader! How come these "Leaders" never use their own initiative?

Because no one told them to…

Stay safe and be proactive and not reactive.

(p.s. If you're a retired whatever rank and haven't been active for more than 2-3 years, you need not reply)

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