In his most recent post Jack/dt threw out some excellent thought provoking ideas about standards and it inspired me to dig out this article I ran a few years ago in my column in our county Fire Service news paper. It is argued that basic civility is losing ground in the public arena. We are not the public arena. We are the Fire Service and we are required to treat those we serve with respect and civility.


Charged Lines   By Pete Dawson
> On Public Image
> So, I'm driving along the five lane “strip” through my fire district when I see a vehicle with a blue light. "A Ha" says I "A noble volunteer. An honorable public servant." When I catch up at a traffic light I notice his rear window is adorned with one of those stickers of a little nasty brat with a brush cut. It sports a sinister snarl and, at the end of his fully extended arm is a fully extended middle finger. Why me? I'm a life long friend of the fire service. Why would a fellow firefighter flick me off in public without even knowing I'm there? What if I had been a young mother with a car load of kids. Why would he send them that message? Why would anyone want to tell the world "Hey, this blue light tells you I'm a volunteer firefighter and, by the way, “---k you!"?.
> I was wrong. This is not a noble volunteer or an honorable public servant. This is just some unfortunate little person who has traded our years of hard earned good public relations for whatever immediate gratification he may have had from his misguided moment of cuteness.
> Some of these little brats are in fire helmets and holding their own charged line that splatters into a puddle marked "YOU". Isn't that just a phenomenally clever message? Then there is the one where the same little brat in a fire helmet is standing over an inscription of that great old classic: "We have bigger hoses." Is that a standard by which we hope to be judged. Perhaps these stickers will help us recruit more people who want to be associated with such cool ideas. Are these the messages we want to be remembered by? After third grade, they have certainly lost their shock appeal. They are vulgar at best. How does the public we serve deserve these anonymous insults? They don’t. Neither does the fire service that is sincere about promoting good public relations.
> Do you dare suggest that, because it’s a personal vehicle, it is none of my business? When you put a blue (or red) light on that personal vehicle you have identified yourself as one of us and you must take the responsibility that goes with that representation. When you posted an insult to the public and to the fire service on that same vehicle, you still represented us. I'm in the fire service and that makes it very much my business. It is also the business of every rookie who just fulfilled a dream by joining this traditionally honorable service. It is the business of every one in your department and in every fire department everywhere. You chose to join us. We are not without standards.
> Perhaps it is most importantly the business of your own chief. He is the one empowered to require you to choose between the insult you posted on your vehicle and the blue light that he alone can authorize you to use. One of them must go.
> That little voice in your head that told you to go ahead and put that sticker
> on your vehicle was dead wrong. Get out the hair drier and the razor blade. Get rid of that little brat and make us all proud.
> Thanks. We need all the good responsible help we can get.

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Padre, yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss, along with all the stupid t-shirts and hats with rediculus sayings. If you represent me and my agency you had better advertise your best proffesionalism or your going to hear about it. The people we protect do a good enough job already of acting and being stupid.
Make us proud!
Thanks Chief. So far so good. Im arming myself for the dude who is offended by the article.
unfortunately, as earnest as you may try, I can't see 'those' people actually taking the time to read something like this post... sad but true Padre...

after 30 years as a paid professional firefighter and paramedic, over the years I found myself removing stickers and such, advertising what I did for a living. maybe it's just me but I find it cool to just be kind of stealth...

ok, I do have the locals sticker on the back windows but who likes getting tickets? I suppose the good news here is that you have to be a real firefighter to have one of those much sought after stickers and the cops know it. God help you if you have one of those stickers on your car and you get pulled over. You better be the real thing...

my bottom line here is that I too found disgust in seeing a figure of a cartoon firefighter taking a leak or giving you the finger... great image builder, specially during fiscal times where the public really scrutinizes and makes judgement calls about firefighters, sometimes from just seeing a sticker on a window... the 250 people in my department, and I've seen most of their vehicles are sans these types of stickers and display of ignorance...

good call Padre, these kids should remove the stickers, they make us all look bad...

Preaching to the choir Padre but then, you already knew that.
Jack you singing over there or what? My dog is howling up a storm over here?
so where can I get those sticker? . . . . . . . . . . Just kiddin'. If you want to be considered a professional, then you better act like a professional.
I can't add to that. Excellent.
Thanks Capt. Sooooo, back to Jack. The way to do that would be to identify and enforce "standards" right?

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