Men are from Mars. Women are from the continental US.

I often find myself perusing this website at the wee hours of the morning with every intention of learning something new every night (when I'm working - that is). I have to say, I do pick up quite a bit of knowledge from some very informational posts and I do appreciate it! I feel like sometime here I may need to give back a little bit. Unfortunately, I'm not a firefighter - I'm edging my way into being an EMT and I am a dispatcher. I can't imagine that my input will be useful to thousands, although I try.
Regardless, seeing as this website has a vast majority of men. I thought I'd address a topic (or 10) that probably hasn't been mentioned here before: etiquette. Now, bare with me. I swear like a trucker, ride a harley, have tattoos and I take shots of whiskey with no chaser. I'm no peach - but I do know there are some things that need improvement from the male population in general.

1. Holding the door open for a woman is appreciated, every single time. If a woman doesn't say thank you - she's probably got bigger things on her mind than who's holding the door for her. So here: I'll say thank you for her. THANK YOU. There, now you can do it every single time and feel rewarded. Just remember: "oh Deb said 'thank you' for her - goodgame"

2. What you do with your fire department shirt on reflects your fire department directly. ESPECIALLY IF YOUR ACTION IS RUDE. For example: pretending to take out your princess sofia and making the motions of whizzing on something just makes me think that that's how you're going to put the fire out at my house. Know what else that works for? The stickers on your trucks. If I see you driving like shit with a "co. 5" sticker hanging out on the back window, and I know your officers... they're SO hearing about it - because if you drive your own truck like that with the departments name blaring on the back why wouldn't you drive the engine like that with lights and sirens and all? Remember - someone is always watching.

3. Please. For the love of God. BE NICE TO YOUR DISPATCHERS. When you're giving me attitude on the radio for not answering you fast enough, or for not being able to hear you because of background noise or poor radio communications - I'm on the phone with the FMO, the PD is standing behind me listening in and asking questions, and the next due Co. ambulance is returning from the hospital at the same time with both of your paid staff on board. Not to mention - when you're getting all lippy because you're not getting what you want fast enough, it's not getting to you any faster. AND! you're making the WHOLE TOWN and your department look bad. So: bring us candy and roses and pretty smelling candles and we will be happy little dispatchers.

4. Just because I'm talking to someone, doesn't mean I'm nailing them. I do have FRIENDS. I'm gonna leave that right there at that.
4a)What is said between the guys does sometimes make it back to the girl. Be nice.
4c)If there were female dayrooms, I'd more than likely hang out there just to avoid this horseshit.

5. Leaving your plate on the table is only acceptable if you go on a call, open mics are dangerous, and the hoses used for cleaning the engines are not for squirting at Deb. Oh! and quit burping and farting it doesn't make you more manly at all.

6. If needed: I can provide you with an extensive research I've conducted on the negative side effects of chewing tobacco. Smoking will be my next feat to conquer. Lance Bernacki : pay attention.


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Comment by Mark Montgomery on January 2, 2009 at 5:10am
Hey my friend

Great post, you have said what needs to be said without a whole lot of other BS that could have been rolled in.

I have always been very respectful to our dispatchers, they do an excellent job in a very stressful setting. I have made an effort to always thank them when I talk to them over the phone (not such good etiquette over the radio, but still required sometimes).

I totally agree about the T-Shirt or bumper sticker waving firefighter who does nothing but disgrace and dishonour the emblems on them. Like you I a have no hesitation in talked to their Chief's.
Comment by Jenny Holderby on October 13, 2008 at 4:52pm
Yeah Deb!! You GO GIRL!! Dispatchers are our lifeline on the fire ground. Years ago before our county got a 9-1-1 system we dispatched our own calls & I have been in a 9-1-1 center. A good dispatcher is a PEACH period. Last night our poor dispatchers were so busy calling out departments (17 in the county) one right after another I don't know how they keep track of everybody. And they CARE! A few months ago 1 of our members had an MVA on the way to the station. The dispatcher had heard him mark up but thought he was marking up enroute FROM the station in an apparatus. He never marked on scene & she couldn't raise him. Besides almost having a nervous brakedown, she sent the cavilary to find him.

The topic of your post was great. I have said many times that women just don't think like men. Men have a totally different way of looking @ things than we do. I've been told I think too much like a man & I'm not sure I like that but. . . I don't want to be treated like a princess but a little respect goes a long way and that means for everybody. Respect is earned but must also be given. The biggest problem with kids today is that they have NO respect. They have no respect for their peers, their elders or themselves.
Comment by Paul Sabaj on October 12, 2008 at 9:15pm
great post. and it also goes with if Moma isn't happy !
Comment by Charles Tower on October 12, 2008 at 9:04pm
Deb---One shouldn't care whether your a fire fighter or ems. The name of this site is:
Professional & Social Network for Firefighters, EMS & Rescue

All your statements are so very true and valid. I for one will be man enough to say that i have gotten snippy with my dispatchers also. I tend to forget that there are only two on at night and one may have been called away because of a "nature call". Our dispatch center not only answers our radio calls, but they also answer 911, and is an answering service for some alarm companies and other dr.s. You - Dispatchers - do a Hell of a job and it is not an easy one--yes you have your low days (volume wise) but so do we firefighters and ems, and we are all thankfull for that. In today's firefighting/ems profession, being a woman you still require respect that is due to all women. I personally think you hit the nail right on the head with your comments. Congrats for speaking out.
Comment by Justin Buck on October 12, 2008 at 6:19pm
i like this post. i agree 100%
Comment by Rhonda Guidry on October 12, 2008 at 2:44pm
AWESOME POST!!!! I agree totally!! Take Care and Have a great week!- rhon
Comment by Mike Schlags (Captain Busy) Retd on October 11, 2008 at 9:12pm
I love your post. Dispatcher totally rock. My wife was one for 20 years until a private ambulance paramedic told her that she was just a dispatcher when discussing response to a county jail. The medic had told her to cancel fire, she did not. It was a full arrest. The medics point of view was that the deputy's could do CPR, her response was that deputy's in a jail don't do CPR, they protect you...

She won the argument but his zinger about her just being a dispatcher hit home and did some significant damage to her sense of self worth. It wasn't until years later that she slipped and mentioned the guys name when I was in earshot... The good news was that the hurtful comments were turned into positive energy, with my wife making the decision to quit 911 dispatch and go back to school to become a registered nurse. It took her eight years and she graduated from nursing school at age 50 but she did get a job working as a nurse in an emergency room and eventually transferred to the regional trauma center. And guess what Debbie, that rat bastard came into the emergency room, and when he was trying to talk himself out of something, my wife was able to tell him, "your just a paramedic...". Paybacks are sweet and the timing was oh so perfect. And he knew exactly what she was talking about.

Your good people Miss Snacks and I like having you as a friend. Keep writing, you have a fan on the west coast. : )

TCSS, Mike from Santa Barbara
Comment by BillySFCVFD on October 11, 2008 at 5:44pm
Very nice and true Deb, Thanks TCSS
Comment by jill on October 11, 2008 at 5:06pm
Well said!! Thanks my friend!
Blessings and Be Safe,

Comment by lutan1 on October 11, 2008 at 6:23am
Is it wrong to be a bloke and enjoy what you've written? Well said... :)

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