Yeah, I've noticed that since I moved up here to NC from SC. When I was in, we ALL had lights and sirens on our POV's and most times if the cop saw you approaching an intersection, they'd hit the blues and block for you. That's cooperation amongst the services. As far as the "redneck" term goes, no body appreciates a redneck 'till it's 0 dark:30 in the middle of nowhere and your car quit on you, or you're neck deep in some shit you "cain't figger out how t' git yerself out uv," and Bubba rolls up grinnin' and saves yer ass. Ya'll come back now, ya hear?
Gotta go back farther than that. The original "rednecks" were a group of men from the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee who banded together and fought in the Revolutionary War. "THEY" were the group that threw that Brit. Colonel off King's Mtn. in North Carolina. http://www.tngenweb.org/revwar/kingsmountain.html
I lived in Florida for thirteen years. 12 on a vol fire dept. Nothing better than a Red Neck Fire Fighter. I am not knocking any vol firefighter it just seems that the south is more layed back and I am proud to hang out with a bunch of good ol boys "and girls" I had my best times down south. (Besides you just can't find any good Southern Barbecued chicken up north.
If I may;
I don't think the initial question, nor most of the responses I've read, were posted in any derogatory or denigrating manner. Rather, curiosity as to the why's and wherefore's of such a broad brushed application of a stereotype. Perhaps relating some my own personal experiences will help a little?
I recall as a small child growing up in upstate SC, I watched my Dad and some of his friends and co-workers in the ambulance business, help out with the construction/outfitting of a "pick-em-up" truck turned fire truck. This was done to try to provide some semblance of security(?) to a burgeoning community in the area. At that time, (early 1960's), there were many areas of the county unprotected by any organized fire suppression team. This was the beginnings of what has since grown into the Piedmont Park Fire Department, a well outfitted, equipped, and trained group of firefighters. From those humble beginnings of a pick-up truck with a pump and some hose, manned by a few "rednecks", a very fine organization has evolved. Back in those days, the local volunteer fire department was pretty much a "boys club" and no one really had much if any "formal" training. It was more of, "put the wet stuff on the red stuff" kind of firefighting.
As for the few posts about the effects of Hollywood and the media, recent movies such as "Backdraft" and "Ladder 49" tend to portray the "big city" boys as bar hopping drunkards when not on duty. I'm not hearing a lot of moaning and bitching about that so........??? One could be led to draw certain conclusions about the likes of firefighters in Chicago and Baltimore now couldn't one?
Having said all that, when I first joined the FD, it was under the status of a volunteer. I was proud as ever because my earliest memories as a child I wanted to be a fireman. Eventually, I managed to secure a paid position with one of the departments in the county, and against the rules, I continued as a volunteer with my "original" department. I caught a lot of flak about it sometimes by my Asst. Chief and Capt. at the time, but dammit, I was NOT going to forego being with those who had first welcomed me into their brotherhood. Eventually, I secured a paid position with my original department and that's where I remained until leaving in the mid 80's. Worst career move I ever made but family issues made it necessary.
Forgive my rambling here, I'm old and I can do that now. :-} Were "we" redneck firemen? To some in the communities we probably were labeled as such, but when the shit hit the fan, WHO did THEY call on? DAMN RIGHT.....and we came running too and bailed them out of sheer accident or utter "civilian redneck" stupid crap they got themselves into. The phrase, "Hey ya'll, watch'is," is commonly followed by the flash of red lights and the sounds of sirens. Yeah, we "redneck firemen" are well known for un-screwing the screw-ups of others. (Ladies, pardon my use of the term fireMEN here, it's how I grew up. Women were not allowed in the FD after dark and damn few ever tried to get on board either.)
From humble beginnings of a "boys club" to the modern, well trained, disciplined, dedicated, and devoted emergency service providers we, (excuse me), YOU ALL have become today, I take pride in being labeled as a "redneck" in all its glory. Unless you know me personally, you have no idea what makes me tick or gets my adrenaline pumping. Use that term with malice aforethought, and you're gonna get accelerated into the fast-class of learnin' the difference. Without the aforementioned "boys clubs" full of rednecks, there'd be a lot more ashes to be kicking around today.
So, for those of you who get easily offended, that's an issue you need to deal with and figure out why you're offended. My skin ain't that thin. I know where I came from and I honor those men who came before and taught me what it means to be a man, (or woman in these days.), with a fire hat and a red light. So......did you hear about the dude that his house caught fire and he called the fire dept.? The guy on the phone said, "Ok, we're comin', 'kin ya tell us how t' git there?" The guy replied, "Duh, big red truck".................
As far as the stereotype, it sure ain't limited to the south. My department has more pickup trucks than cars parked outside during meetings and fire calls, some with rifle racks and one even has the red scrotum hanging from the hitch.
Most of the guys hang out after a call trading stories and swapping stats regarding how many points that buck had. When dear season starts, you can count on fewer respondents.