Tales from a Tailboard Fireman ~ The realities of our job

I took my 3-year-old granddaughter to Station 16 in San Francisco. It is located in an area known as Cow Hollow. A nice station in a residential neighborhood. The guy I met on the apparatus floor was a good fella. He was there on a staffing readjustment so it was not his home station. He let her sit in the cab and when I noticed some strange gear he told me they did water rescue. It was part of their duty to respond to jumpers off the Golden Gate Bridge. It once again brought to mind the stuff we do. There is a line in the movie "From Here to Eternity." A sergeant says to two guys fighting, " You guys would puke your guts out if you saw a dead man." The people who belittle us and say we make too much money could not do what we do for a day. What we see in our careers would surely make the average person "puck their guts out." We do it in a professional manner and carry the pictures for the rest of our lives.

Maybe a ride along would give the politicians a better understanding of what our job really is. We fight fires, save lives, and take care of things most people will never see or imagine. We do what we do and it really frosts me when we are defamed.

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Comment by THOMAS DAVOLI on April 4, 2011 at 10:27am
Comment by Russ on April 3, 2011 at 10:28am
i agree with you and must say that i'm not suprised that this is happeing to us. the first time i went into walmart after 9-11 wearing a FD shirt i had people shaking my hands and RECOUNTING their encounters with firefighters and saying the things that were nice. I smile now thinking at that time that "this will end sometime around election time" and we will be back to "fire department as usual" and...here we are. the cuts will come back to haunt the cutters. i have been telling folks that tell me "now" that "I make too much money" to come down and spend a shift. the observation by FETC about a backfire is accurate but also a way to promote thought. i would ask a politician to consider what his cuts may cost and ask him one question, if you did cut staffing and budget, what would you tell my wife was the reason for my death should it be related to budget cuts and reduced staffing? i'd be interested to hear the answer
Comment by FETC on April 1, 2011 at 10:00pm
Problem with ride-a-longs is they can backfire on you as well. The politicians are busy, so they stop in for a few hours and expect to see everything. BUT nothing happens, and they simply see alot of downtime and think it is like that everyday...
Comment by Rick Kennedy on April 1, 2011 at 6:08am
you are so right

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