In the past couple weeks, one firefighter shot his family pets--two dogs that I'm sure his kids are now heartbroken over--so he didn't have to board them while going on a cruise with his girlfriend.
In another story, a firefighter shot a bicyclist because he thought the cyclist was riding with his child too close to a busy roadway. Luckily, the cyclist and his child are still alive, although I'm sure the 3-year-old won't want to take any more bike rides with daddy for a while.
The firefighter who shot his dogs is now going to court to get his job back, claiming he was fired due in part to public opinion, not failing job performance. The firefighter who shot the cyclist has been charged with first degree attempted murder.
I understand the job of firefighting exists in a kind of vacuum of extremes. It entails everything from rolling hose to picking up body parts. If you're not an emotionally balanced person (and even if you are), it probably takes a toll on you in ways the public isn't aware of.
So what should happen to these firefighters who seem wildly unstable and unsafe, perhaps due to the rigors of their job? Is their job an excuse for their actions? Should these people be allowed to return to the service? Would you let these people into your house, or hand them your baby out a burning window?
And is this nothing new? Do you see violent tendencies in your crewmembers? If so, what do you do about it?
Cindy Devone-Pacheco is senior editor for FireRescue magazine.