In preparation for annual house inspection, we are stripping and waxing the floors. I am reminded of a day over three decades ago: I was a very young produce clerk at Kroger. My father comes in to buy groceries for fire station #14 just down the street where he is assigned.

I am so proud to see him in his uniform and for him to see me working my first "real" job, but a little embarrassed that he happens in while I am mopping the floor.

"Ah, nothin' wrong with that," he tells me, "It's part of my job too. I've been mopping floors everyday at the firehouse for over 30 years!"

..and now, so have I. 

My son wants to follow our family tradition and be a firefighter too. He'll be fourth generation, maybe I should warn him? ;)

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Comment by Ben Waller on August 18, 2012 at 5:25pm

Philly, in our case, with 3-firefighter staffing, everyone mops the floors, including the officers.  We don't have the manpower to eliminate 1/3 of the warm bodies from housework. 


My philosophy is that I'm not too good to get dirt under my fingernails.  I've even been known to wreck a white shirt helping pack hoselines, cleaning up after live burn training, etc.  It's not about me - it's about pitching in and helping the troops when they need it.


As you said, it is a different culture.

Comment by Barry Greer on August 13, 2012 at 11:11pm

Also handled hose and mop.  One summer we pulled the engines out onto the ramp and painted the carriage floor top to bottom.  We took out the trash, washed the trucks, put the chains on and took them off, cleaned the gear, etc. Easy duty was sitting a four hour watch at the desk.  

Comment by Lana Moore on August 8, 2012 at 11:50am

Thanks WP and Oldman... I agree, and yes rest assured, my crew has that same level of respect. What I was saying is that whether it is humping hose, or mopping floors, we always work as a team. I believe that leading by example is key. If there is a job to be done, I am present and "hands on."  They never let my hold the mop for long. 

As for my son, the "warning" I spoke of was tongue-in-cheek. I try my best to encourage him to follow his own passion in life. You can only imagine how it warms my heart to know that for him, it apparently involves carrying out our family tradition in the fire service! 

Comment by Oldman on August 8, 2012 at 12:23am

As WP stated, the mop would be yanked out of my hands too. But it shows my crews that even an Asst Chief is not too good to lend a hand. My people know without question, I don't ask them to do anything I wont do.

As far as warning your son goes, I guess you can warn him that this is one tradition you will expect him to uphold.

Comment by WestPhilly on August 7, 2012 at 11:14am

My company would feel denigrated if I picked up a mop, and it would be yanked out of my hands in no time. Different place, different culture, I guess. (Good luck with the inspection.)

Comment by Lana Moore on August 7, 2012 at 10:25am

Oh yes, of course! Regardless of what the books say, I good officer always pitches in!  :)

Comment by WestPhilly on August 7, 2012 at 9:48am

Please tell me the captain isn't mopping floors.

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