I am tired of seeing the "self-anointed accolades". We are giving people joining the fire service a lofty target to hit.

We are giving people in our communities a reason to resent us when WE refer to the honorable and courageous things that we do. In other words, they don't like US patting ourselves on the back.

People joining want to rise to hero status; some faster than others.

I read the Sunday paper and it sickened me when I came across this AP story from the New York Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Caleb+Lacey

Caleb Lacey, 19, a Long Island volunteer firefighter doused an apartment staircase with gasoline and set the building ablaze-killing four-in a "twisted attempt to become a hero", prosecutors charged Saturday.

This has given the term "hero" and "volunteer firefighter" connotations that any right thinking person would not want to be associated with.

Stop selling the idea that we are "heroes" and what we do is "heroic".

We do what we do to HELP others. Period.

Anyone who believes that they will make a heroic effort someday; GET OUT NOW.

There are other "Caleb Laceys" in our fire service just waiting for their chance.

You should know them. You voted them onto your fire departments.

And it has given the news media just another reason to splash FIREFIGHTER CHARGED WITH...as their headline and given the evening news their lead in for the top story of the day.

God; please make it stop.


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I dont believe we are heroes. I believe that people benefit from the fact that we get to do what we love.

Its funny, we have a trophy at my fire house of a firefighter at the top with a piece of paper on the bottm with the words "AND THEN I" . when we get back from a fire, if someone starts tooting their own horn, they may get the trophy. We keep each other in check. we know can be in for a long day if we start patting ourselves on the back.
i did not join to be a hero.
during the course of events we may well do what some would consider to be heroic but at the end of the day this is what we train for and what is expected of us as firefighters much like soilders. There will allways be people who will wish to slap the hero label on others this will never change.
the people i admire the most are the loved ones at home when the pager gos off they are left behind well we are off doing what we do best helping others in need.
and our loved ones wait for our safe return
All the Hereo's I knew have made the ultimate sacrafice, either, for their country,
or their commuity. They are no longer with us. They are the real Heroe's
its either that or they are the silent ones such as my grand father he never spoke of the war. not untill as his passing and we were sorting his stuff do we come across a war journal and medal for bravery where he led his men who had the enemy in front and a shark infested lagoon at their back no ammo to speak of and he made the decision that they would swim the lagoon long story short they all survived he got the medal in all the years i was around him all he would say was i served my country and did what i had to do.
Hero mabe Brave defanitly
"Anyone who believes that they will make a heroic effort someday; GET OUT NOW."
Now that statement is where we TOTALLY disagree. And I hope the people that believe they will make a heroic effort someday CONTINUE a long and prosperious journey in the fire service.
I know the efforts I have made, and I know what efforts I will continue to make .......and I REFUSE to "get out now"

Now I will say that people that have a "hero complex" have and will continue to do damage (to themselves and others). And as sad as it is, I doubt there is any type of "pre-screening" to identify those...so they will always be around

That being said,I just personally believe that everyone in the fire service should be willing and ready to make "heroic efforts" EVERYDAY.....and I shudder to think what this world (and fire service) would be like if they all left.

But opinions are funny like that....you have yours, I have mine....and we probibaly think each others stinks.
Michael C. Harrison
"Anyone who believes that they will make a heroic effort someday; GET OUT NOW."
I don't think your opinion "stinks"; I have no opinion on your opinion.
This statement is a caveat to the "hero" syndrome, in that, if we obsess and "dream" of making a heroic effort, you should think about getting out. It's kinda like the firefighters who set fires out of "boredom". When we believe that we need to make a heroic effort, we will push the envelope of risk in order to do so.
Or, we will contrive something like a former member on here did; only to find out it was false.
And we would agree that heroic effort is where there are life safety issues for sure.
Quoting an earlier post "if someone starts tooting their own horn, they may get the trophy. We keep each other in check. we know can be in for a long day if we start patting ourselves on the back."
Don't we promote this ourselves with Firehouse awards, plaques for FF of the Year and things like FDNY Medal Day?
The minute we send out a press release to the papers about the local winners, isn't that waving a red flag to all those 'wannabes' who then go off the deep end? But we do it - I'll bet all your departments do.
You can't play both ends. When you hand out a valor medal you are telling the world that you have found a hero. Which is okay.
Personally, I think the fire service needs this. It's what generates the public outcry when someone tries to close a station. It gives us the clout to talk fire safety. It's the reason kids play firefighter and not accountant. The fire service needs heroes and so does America.
Our job in preventing more 'Laceys' is to screen out the bad apples and when that fails, eliminate them quickly. But I feel sure that the media will still splash "FF charged with -" as the headline, no matter what. The real shame is if that's the only press we get.
This is not about me hoping to be 'a hero' and don't try to turn it into that. It is possible for heroic accounts to inspire in a good way, not just a bad way. That's why the Army names buildings after medal recipients. The Army goes out of its way to tell these stories to new recruits. It's heritage.
It's not about saying "I want to be a hero." It's about saying, "I hope some day, if faced with the same tough deal, and lives are on the line, that I'm strong enough to do what he or she did." And then pondering that - preparing, mentally, which I happen to think that's a good thing.
If someone calls you a hero, all you have to say is what I heard a fellow soldier say just after 9-11 when all of us stateside who hadn't done a darn thing lately were getting people offering to buys us coffee everywhere because of those deployed: "Thank you. I'm happy to serve you, and I'll accept your kind words on behalf of those doing the hard work that you just haven't seen."
i think i understand what you are saying art that there are some out there who have the hero complex and the day will come with that in mind they will make a impaired judgment call and do something stupid ultamatly risking their and the rest of the crews life for what under normal circumstance would be a lost cause
below are the three ruls we live be in nz
we May risk our safety in a highly calculated manner to protect saveable lives
we May risk our safety in a very careful manner to protect saveable property
we WILL NOT risk our safety for lives and property that are ovbiously lost
"Thank you. I'm happy to serve you, and I'll accept your kind words on behalf of those doing the hard work that you just haven't seen."

An excellent perspective!
Nicely written Andy and I'll paraphrase if I may. Ou countries at times need heroes, what we don't need are people who want to be heroes. I've said before that I don't like the word 'hero'. Yes I've had people use it when talking to me, I say 'thanks, but I'm just a person doing what he's trained for and chooses to do'.

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