What are everyones thoughts on how our profession is portrayed in the Movies, Tv Shows ? Do you think it has an effect of how we are viewed by the public ? Do you agree with the way we are shown, if not what would you change ?

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Here is a picture of me portraying a FirefighterNetcast personality, interviewing Steven Pasquale, who portrayed Firefighter Sean Garrity on "Rescue Me".
Personally, I really don't think that we want a cookie cutter approach to how firefighters are portrayed. Everyone is different, so that portrayal should be different.
Though I don't like to see firefighters portrayed as criminals, the reality has been that some are.
Sinners and saints my friend.
That's the way it is.

Some say that Rescue Me is an accurate portrayal of the fire service. If it is where they are, then I personally believe their department is in serious need of help, because it isn't even close to real in my area. Ladder 49, while well written, and the actors actually had to do some live burn training, deals more with the personal side of firefighters more than portraying techniques. Backdraft has to be the most popular joke, for a fire service movie, even during the time it was made. Even the old TV show Emergency, was glamorized.

Lets face it. Our profession while at times exciting, is relatively boring and mundane. If someone were to make a movie or series that was completely accurate and real, nobody would watch. This world is full of morons and stupid people who believe everything on TV shows or movies, and many try to mimic what they see. Thankfully, this keeps us all gainfully employed, and at the same time, gives us all something to talk about on forums such as this.
I'm sorry that you think the Washington, DC Fire Department is in need of help because I see many similarities to the show. I know most big city departments are like that. If you've never worked for one then I don't think you have the right to judge. I've said it a million times and I'll say it again: THERE ARE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OUR DEPARTMENTS. Not every department operates the same. As someone who has worked both in the suburbs and an urban large city, I've seen both worlds. If you work in a small department in Texas, how do you know what it's like in NYC or DC or Baltimore?
You're right capcityff,

I don't know about DC, Baltimore, or some of the other cities back east. I do know about Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio which was what I base my opinion on. I was not intending to be judgmental about about any one department, and I have talked with people from many different departments from across this country who share your opinion on the show. I don't.

There are differences in departments. There are less than stellar issues and problems in many departments whether it be; drug and alcohol use, to sexual harassment and discrimination. I don't however, believe them to be accurate for this profession as a whole. If it is, then there is a problem.

Seems inappropriate to discuss firefighter entertainment shows without bringing up the show EMERGENCY! In many ways, sans some of the cheesy calls they depicted, the sitcom did a good job sharing the daily routine of a firefighters life. Or at least the way it was back in the day... :D

I have noticed a difference in the way things are done in both movies and tv shows but also from individuals that I have talked to, I know that there is always a different way of doing something and I am open to trying new things. I feel safety is the number one thing that is portrayed in a bad light, anything from jumping from one balcony to another or fighting the "monster" with no SCBA. I dont agree with that portrayal. I know I am from a different era when it comes to fighting fires, my department is only 50 some years old. Half the stuff I see on these shows and even the way it is done is some of the older departments around North America just seem to be unneeded risks, It may be soft of me to wear SCBA during a small contents fire, or during overhaul, but I value the importance of my and my departments safety ...

Remember, Stay Safe
Kevin Hatfield
I loved Emergency! when I was a kid. While my family history in the fire service goes back many generations, I think the Firefighter/Paramedic aspect of these two shaped my own personal perspective of what I wanted to do in the fire service. Interestingly enough, when I took my first career move in the business, it was in that very same context, as one of two firefighter/EMTs on a Squad.

Unfortunately, while I loved the job, our alarm volume (and type) didn't quite match what these guys were doing.

Since it was an old show, I didn't see it for a long time until it came on cable. I turned it on, anxious to see all those memorable moments. About ten minutes into the show, they were hoisting a worker off of a crane with no haul system, no fall protection, no hardware, no nothing. Just Roy, Johnny, some 1/2-inch laid hemp rope, and the most God awful 1:1 system (that would be "hand-over-hand" in bystander language) ever seen. I turned off the TV and moved on.
It's funny, but in my "off the record" conversation with Steven Pasquale, he brought up Ladder 49 vs. Backdraft.
We agreed that Backdraft was better story wise and entertainment content.
As long as you don't set your expectations too high, it can be entertaining and somewhat educational.
Keep it in perspective.
Go watch Dodgeball the Movie, how does it portray high school coaches?
Watch Reno 911, how does it portray cops?
Watch The Exorcist, does it portray priests accurately?
Watch Gilligan's Island, how does it portray charter fishing boats (including captain and mate)?
Sheesh, unclench, let your panties hang loose and lighten TFU.
Someone argued the alcohol thing before and it was pointed out that only one person has a problem. There's over 2000 people on my department, I'm sure that someone has a drinking problem. After all, we are just ordinary people.

That's what I like about the show. It shows that we all are only normal people. We all have our problems. The discussions at the table and the brotherhood are very similar to how it is in DC. The stresses of the job are identical. Different ghetto, same problems.
:) Exactly Jack, heaven knows you can't put a lot of stock in what you see on TV or the movies, afterall, they are intended to be entertaining. I would hope that most reasonably intelligent people would know that unless they are watching a documentary or news show, that what is on the big screen is just a story meant to entertain, not inform.
I agree to a point ... we look at these movies and think one thing, but in the public eye they think alot of this running into a building with no care in the world, and no BA on is how we do our jobs. It is not how I do my job, and I would hope it is not how alot of FF's do there job.

I think these shows paint us in a light that is although positive, but I think it pushes the envelope when it comes to us being "Heroes" and all daredevils. As comparing Reno 911 to cops that is a little far fetched and it is designed to make fun of that profession, in no way do I think people that watch that show think it is anymore then a hoax. I have yet to see a Firefighter or EMS show on Comedy Network.

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